On the Cutting Edge - Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
Teaching Climate Change: Lessons from the Past
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Classroom and Lab Activities

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Subject: Atmospheric Science

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El Nino Southern Oscillation part of Cutting Edge:Oceanography:Activities
This is a lab activity done in class (equipped with computers) and taught by TA's. The lab section is 2.5 hours, but this activity does not take that entire time period.

Ocean Gyre Circulation and Patterns of Global Primary Productivity part of Cutting Edge:Oceanography:Activities
This teaching activity provides a visual framework for understanding the relationship/connection between ocean gyre circulation and primary productivity. Students demonstrate their own understanding of surface ...

El Niño and Ocean-Atmosphere Interactions in the Tropical Pacific part of Cutting Edge:Oceanography:Activities
This activity investigates the oceanographic and climatic characteristics of El Niño/La Niña (ENSO) events using observational data from moored ocean buoys in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Data are obtained from ...

Ocean Circulation part of Cutting Edge:Oceanography:Activities
Laboratory exercise to explore water density, surface ocean currents, and ocean circulation

Deep water circulation and chemistry jigsaw part of Cutting Edge:Oceanography:Activities
This activity is designed to introduce students to the way in which thermohaline circulation and the biological pump influence the distribution of nutrients, oxygen, carbon, and radiocarbon in the Atlantic vs. ...

Seawater composition: an introduction part of Cutting Edge:Oceanography:Activities
In this activity, students collaboratively "build" the hydrologic cycle and use it as a starting point for thinking about the composition of seawater.

Oceans and Climate Debate part of Cutting Edge:Oceanography:Activities
This activity orally tests students understanding of the links between ocean processes and global climate change. It is set up as a debate with students serving as the science experts and volunteer faculty serving ...

Impacts of El Nino and La Nina part of Cutting Edge:Oceanography:Activities
In this exercise, students explore NOAA and the Climate Data Center websites that provide information about El Niño. The students are then asked interpret a series of maps to describe the key changes in climate ...

Mapping Paleocurrents: Using the Past to Understand the Present part of Cutting Edge:Oceanography:Activities
In this activity, students are given a series of world maps showing the different configurations of the continents through geologic history. Working back from the present, students reconstruct the location of past ...

Global Atmospheric Circulation and the Indian Monsoon part of Cutting Edge:Oceanography:Activities
In this project students learn through lecture, video, and sketching about the Coriolis effect, the "Six-Cell Generalized Global Atmospheric Circulation Model", the shifting ITCZ, the Indian Monsoon, and ...

Global Warming in 5 Steps part of Cutting Edge:Oceanography:Activities
Scientists say the planet is warming because of human activities, namely the greenhouse effect from carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere when burning fossil fuels. But, how do we know? How do scientists know? ...

Demonstrating Climate Change and the Water Cycle to Fifth Grade Students part of NAGT:Teaching Resources:Teaching Materials Collection
Demonstration of the greenhouse effect and its role in climate change, discussion of the phases of water and the water cycle, and a hands-on experiment to investigate the role of temperature in phase changes of ...

JiTT - Threats to Biodiversity part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Just in Time Teaching:Examples
1) How is climate change a threat to biodiversity? 2) What are the impacts of pesticides on animals (including insects) and humans? 3) Can human population growth really impact biodiversity? Explain your viewpoint.

Global Phosphorus Cycle part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students create and modify a STELLA model of the global phosphorus cycle to test a number of scenarios.

Sun Path: Interactive On-line Mac or PC part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Mathematical and Statistical Models:Mathematical and Statistical Models Examples
Students use SunPath in the yearly mode to investigate seasonal changes in sunrise, sunset, length of day and sun altitude at their own latitude. JAVA activity for Mac or PC. -

Planck Radiation Laws: Excel; Mac or PC part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Mathematical and Statistical Models:Mathematical and Statistical Models Examples
Students use an existing Excel workbook to investigate how spectral irradiance from a blackbody radiator depends on temperature, Excel Mac or PC -

Daisyworld Lab part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students explore a STELLA model of Daisyworld, a self-regulating system incorporating positive and negative feedbacks.

Temperature Profiles in Permafrost part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students use STELLA to create a model of heatflow in permafrost to attempt to replicate the findings of Lachenbruch and Marshall (1986), who used inflections in the geothermal gradient of Alaskan permafrost to search for evidence of climatic change.

Lake Level Changes in the Arid West part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students use the modeling program STELLA to see what combinations of runoff and evaporation might have lead to Pleistocene lake level oscillations in California's Owens River system.

Modeling Earth's Temperature part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students use the STELLA program to create hierarchies of models of increasing complexity to understand the absorption of solar energy by the Earth and its radiation of that energy back to space.