Activity takes three to five 60-minute periods.
Computer access required.
This Earth Exploration Toolbook chapter uses ArcGIS and climate data from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Climate Change Scenarios GIS Data Portal to help users learn the basics of GIS-based climate modeling. The five-part exercise involves calculating summer average temperatures for the present day and future climate modeled output, visually comparing the temperature differences for the two model runs, and creating a temperature anomaly map to highlight air temperature increases or decreases around the world.
To help users learn the basics of GIS-based climate modeling
ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION AND TEACHING MATERIALS
Go to this full resource >> Exploring NCAR Climate Change Data Using GIS
TEACHING NOTES / CONTEXT FOR USE
- The instructions explain how to skip the download step in Part 1 and get the appropriate files directly.
- Files are also available for the calculations steps in Parts 2 and 3.
About the Science
- Activity is GIS-based climate modeling using NCAR climate scenarios and data.
- The data sources are from simulations run on the Community Climate System Model (CCSM) for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report.
- There is a compelling case study about the 2003 heatwave in France as well as links to important background materials to support the teaching of this lesson. It introduces this extreme event as one possible impact of the increasing mean air temperature in this century.
- Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.
About the Pedagogy
- Highly structured exercise. Targeted to advanced students in the Earth sciences and geography. Students must be comfortable manipulating data and technical software tools.
- The instructions are very thorough (including screenshots).
- The resource can be used to develop skills in downloading simulation data from a web-based data portal and working with a geographic information system to perform calculations and create maps. Most of these steps can be skipped to focus on the temperature anomaly map.
Technical Details/Ease of Use
- Carefully constructed with show/hide options to provide reinforcement and support
- A major issue is that this resource uses ESRI's ArcGIS 9.3 software running on the Windows operating system.You can request an evaluation DVD of ArcGIS 9.x from ESRI, but the software requirements will be a significant barrier for some users.
- Teachers using this lesson need to be proficient in ArcGIS.
Assessment is at the discretion of the educator an how this resource is applied.
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
Included in the full resource: Exploring NCAR Climate Change Data Using GIS
Description is by the developers of the orginal resource:
With ArcGIS and climate data from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Climate Change Scenarios GIS Data Portal, you will learn the basics of GIS-based climate modeling. First, you will calculate summer average temperatures during the growing season (June, July, and August) using simulated, present-day, climate-modeled output (1980 to 1999). Then, you will make the same calculations using projected, future, climate-modeled output (2021 to 2040). Next, you will visually compare the temperature differences for the two model runs. Finally, you will create a temperature anomaly map to highlight areas around the globe that will experience either air temperature increases or decreases in 2030 relative to 1990.