Video length: 8:26 min.
This video shows the potential of dendrochronology (tree ring study) to shed light on climatic conditions of the past. Scientists at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory read the growth rings of ancient trees to understand the history and workings of the monsoon. In addition, historical accounts are correlated with data from tree rings to better understand these events.
To better understand past monsoon events by correlating these events with data from tree rings from ancient trees.
ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION AND TEACHING MATERIALS
View >>Tree Rings, Climate Change and the Rainy Season
TEACHING NOTES / CONTEXT FOR USE
- The video can be used in a variety of ways and contexts, such as Geography, Asian History, Asian Culture, or Environmental Studies, or in a class where research methods for the reconstruction of past climates are taught.
- CLEAN collection offers good hands-on activities to learn more about the study of tree rings (dendroclimatology/dendrochronology) to examine past climates.
- The video is long - 8min 30 sec - so instructors may want to provide questions to follow along with the video to ensure students view the entire segment.
About the science:
- In order to understand the past history of monsoons, scientists take tree cores to determine when monsoons and dry periods have occurred in Asia from 1300 to present.
- The process of sampling trees for dendrochronology shown very well.
- The explanations of the monsoon and its impact on local weather conditions is summarized in the spoken text.
- Supporting diagrams shown in the video are not always directly connected to the context of the narration.
- Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.
About the Pedagogy
- The video is easy to understand and important science concepts are illustrated in a variety of ways (i.e. pictures, diagrams, and graphs).
- The video shows how the tree rings suggest that droughts appeared in early Asian history that lasted 30 to 50 years. These findings coincide with the decline of some Asian societies.
- The cause of these declines may now be attributed to these drought conditions, which illustrates how dendrochronology can be used to help us understand the past.
- Other tree readings indicating climate change were corroborated by local written records.
Technical Details/Ease of Use
Video is somewhat grainy when viewed full screen, but in small screen, it looks good. Video can be downloaded or embedded.
Assessment is at the discretion of the educator and how this video is applied
Description by creators of this video:
The rainy Asian monsoon season waters crops for nearly half the world's population--but it may not be as reliable as we think. Scientists at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are reading the growth rings of ancient trees to understand the history and workings of the monsoon. What they are seeing sheds light on past civilizations--and possibly on the future.