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C-Learn: the International Climate Change Simulation

Climate Interactive

C-Learn is a simplified version of the C-ROADS simulator. Its primary purpose is to help users understand the long-term climate effects (CO2 concentrations, global temperature, sea level rise) of various customized actions to reduce fossil fuel CO2 emissions, reduce deforestation, and grow more trees. Students can ask multiple, customized what-if questions and understand why the system reacts as it does.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

About Teaching the Guiding Principle
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About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPe
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPg
Observations, experiments, and theory are used to construct and refine computer models
About Teaching Principle 5
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Increased GHG concentrations in atmosphere will remain high for centuries and affect future climate
About Teaching Principle 6
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Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
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7.3 Environmental quality.
Humans transfer and transform energy from the environment into forms useful for human endeavors.
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4.1 Humans transfer and transform energy.
Human demand for energy is increasing.
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6.3 Demand for energy is increasing.
Greenhouse gases affect energy flow through the Earth system.
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2.6 Greenhouse gases affect energy flow.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

The earth's climates have changed in the past, are currently changing, and are expected to change in the future, primarily due to changes in the amount of light reaching places on the earth and the composition of the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels in the last century has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which has contributed to Earth's warming.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark
Decisions to slow the depletion of energy resources can be made at many levels, from personal to national, and they always involve trade-offs involving economic costs and social values.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark
Computer modeling explores the logical consequences of a set of instructions and a set of data. The instructions and data input of a computer model try to represent the real world so the computer can show what would actually happen. In this way, computers assist people in making decisions by simulating the consequences of different possible decisions.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Educators will have to provide students with enough background material to help them create interesting scenarios.
  • Encourage them to run a set of scenarios that allows them to compare the results of different policy options.
  • Suggest reading the Briefing, Introduction, and FAQ (http://forio.com/simulation/climate-development/htm/faqs2.htm) tabs and decide the concepts you want the learners to emphasize.
  • Instructors should spend some time playing with the simulator before using it in class.
  • For high-school learners, more scaffolding would be needed.

About the Science

  • Students are able to change the fossil fuel emissions of CO2, measured in Gigatons (billions of tons) of CO2 per year, from the three regional country groups (i.e., developed, developing A, developing B ) as a percentage of Reference Year emissions reached by 2050.
  • The reference scenario used here is based on the IPCC scenario know as A1FI.
  • There is a thorough technical reference (including data sources from IPCC AR4) for C-ROADS at http://climateinteractive.org/simulations/C-ROADS/technical/technical-reference/C-ROADS%20simulation%20reference%20guide%20.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The creators of this activity have successfully produced a tool that an intelligent stakeholder could use to make an informed decision.

About the Pedagogy

  • One of a suite of visualizations from C-Learn this interactive can help augment research or discussions about the challenges and opportunities relating to reducing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.
  • C-Learn allows students to run their own scenarios and examine the results. Although there are only a small number of variables that can be changed in any scenario, the number of permutations provides a wide range of policy options to explore.
  • There is an extensive set of instructions at http://forio.com/simulation/climate-development/htm/instructions.htm. There are popups to explain key words and concepts.
  • A fuller understanding entails looking at the assumptions and data embedded in the C-ROADS simulator.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Easy to use and simple.
  • For information on the assumptions in the C-Learn simulation, review the technical information on C-ROADS (of which C-Learn is a derivative – the carbon cycle, forests, and climate sectors are identical).

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Climate Interactive: http://www.climateinteractive.org/

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