Confirmation of the IPCC Prediction re: Increased Storminess

Rob Kuhlman
Montgomery County Community College
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A two-part culminating activity for a meteorology/climatology unit in an Earth Science course centered upon data acquisition and analysis regarding the confirmation of the IPCC predicition regarding increased storminess.

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Introductory Earth Science course for non-science majors

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Fundamentals of seasonality, latitudinal zonation, mechanisms of uplift, adiabatic temp changes, energy budgets of H2O phase changes, pressure gradients, cyclonic behavior

How the activity is situated in the course

This project is a culminating activity for this 3-week long unit.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Scientific methodology, models of hurricane formation, impacts of climate change

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Analysis of and contextual application of data, testing of hypotheses

Other skills goals for this activity

Writing, spreadsheet skill development, construction/interpretation of graphs, working in groups

Description of the activity/assignment

This activity represents a culmination project for this unit by means of which students can assess whether the IPCC prediction of increased storminess as an outcome of global warming survives testing. For the previous three weeks students will have conducted several inquiry-based group activities designed to introduce and reinforce fundamental meteorology/climatology concepts. In this 2-day project, students access online AVHRR SST imagery, as well as tabulated numeric data regarding historical North American tropical cyclones, import data into Excel for interpretation and analysis, and submit two group reports.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Mid-point and final group reports are submitted; their responses to directed questions are used to assess the extent to which the groups have met the goals. A final all-group assessment, during which each group's responses are gathered in a data table, is conducted on the third day; the groups at that time have an opportunity for final peer-evaluation and assessment of the efficacy of the project.

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Supporting references/URLs

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab: AVHRR SST imagery and other data:

UNISYS site of archival Atlantic Tropical Storm tabulated data:

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