Climate and the Biosphere: Unit OverviewThe lab activities in this module were developed by Betsy Youngman of TERC for the EarthLabs project.
Why Teach about Climate and the Biosphere?
Why use this set of lessons?
The Labs presented in this unit on climate and weather include student readings, hands-on investigations, videos, animations, data analysis, and models that students explore to help them understand the ways in which energy from the Sun interacts with Earth's systems at global, regional, and local scales to give Earth its varied climates. Another key idea of the module is the multiple time scales at which climate operates, from predicable seasonal and annual cycles to cycles that last for tens of thousands of years and cause dramatic changes to life on Earth via glaciations, changes in sea level, and other long-term effects.
Key questions addressed by this unit include:
- What is Earth's radiation balance, and what role does it play in climate?
- How do the major atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns influence climate?
- What are Earth's biomes; how do they vary with location, and how do they relate to climate?
- How does climate change over short, medium, and long time spans?
- How is life affected by changes in the Earth's climate?
- How do scientists know that the climate has changed in the past and how it may change in the future?
Before starting this unit
- Read the Lab Overviews section, which identifies all of the materials you'll need to gather and provides a quick scope and sequence of the unit.
- If you have not already done so, please read the Climate Series Introduction.
- Install and Practice using new software and tools.
The resources below provide important general background information relevant to this module and to the entire set of Climate EarthLabs modules. More specific materials are listed in the teacher pages.
- Earth System: The Basics (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 151kB Jun6 12)
- Realities VS Misconceptions About the Science of Climate Change (Acrobat (PDF) 429kB Jun6 12) This document was made available by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (http://www.c2es.org/)
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