Two graphs from the NASA Climate website illustrate the change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperatures. The NASA plot is annotated with temperature-impacting historic events, which nicely connect an otherwise challenging graphic to real-world events.
Goals adapted from CLEAN Reviewers description:
Aid students to visualize increasing global temperature and link temperature increase to real-world historical events.
ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION AND TEACHING MATERIALS
Explore >> A Warming World
TEACHING NOTES / CONTEXT FOR USE
Teaching Notes/Context For Use by CLEAN Reviewers:
- A good lecture aid for talking about increasing global temperature and linking it to real-world historical events.
About the Science
- On the first graph, an orange line shows long-term trends by averaging temperatures over a five-year period. Purple error bars represent the uncertainty on measurements.
- On the second graph, the observation is that despite differences in the ways the scientists develop their averaged temperature records, the four different and well-known temperature records show remarkable agreement.
- Comments from expert scientist: Resource is a very effective presentation.
- It gives details behind unusual years.
About the Pedagogy
- The NASA temperature graph includes hyperlink points on the graph providing text information on historical events that provide context for students on why sudden changes in temperature sometimes occur (volcanic eruption, El Niño, La Niña, etc).
- These very effectively show how natural events can affect Earth's global temperatures for short periods of time within the context of global change trends.
Technical Details/Ease of Use
- The visualization is clear and easy to read, and the links work, though you get a flickering of the descriptions of some specific points if you pass over them with the mouse.
Assessment is at the discretion of the instructor
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN
Warming World from NASA Climate: http://climate.nasa.gov/warmingworld/
Description by activity author: Except for a leveling off between the 1940s and 1970s, the surface temperature of our planet has increased since 1880. The last decade has seen global temperatures rise to the highest levels ever recorded. This graph illustrates the change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperatures. As shown by the orange line, long-term trends are more apparent when temperatures are averaged over a 5-year period. The purple error bars represent the uncertainty on measurements.