Climate change is one of the most critical issues facing society today. The 2013 IPCC report states that warming of the climate system is unequivocal, yet the the underlying solar, atmospheric, cryospheric, and oceanic processes governing Earth's climate remain poorly understood by the public at large. Our module seeks to bridge this gap in knowledge by helping students understand Earth's energy balance and climate, its sensitivity to changes in its drivers, and how it interacts with Earth's other systems with a data- and model-driven approach.
Strengths of the Module
- Students work with with real geoscience data to investigate changes in Earth's climate and the factors affecting Earth's energy balance.
- Students build a conceptual model to predict how Earth's climate would respond to a catastrophic volcanic eruption in the module capstone.
- Students interpret and create graphs and maps of key climate variables to evaluate patterns, trends, and physical processes.
- Students become truly engaged in group work, looking at real data, and developing stories/explanations of what the data suggest.
- The interactive engagement encouraged by these activities make them exciting learning experiences for both students and instructor.
A great fit for courses in:
- Atmospheric Science
- Earth Science
- Environmental Science
- Environmental Studies
- Global Change
- Physical Geography
- Sustainability Science
Instructor Stories: How this module was adapted
for use at several institutions »
Table of Contents
- Instructor Materials: Overview of the Earth's Thermostat Module
Unit 1Energy, space, and Earth's effective temperature Unit 2The Earth's atmosphere and its influence on temperature Unit 3Energy Flows and feedback processes Unit 4Balancing the radiation budget: a jigsaw exploration of the global climate system (Part 1) Unit 5Balancing the radiation budget: a jigsaw exploration of the global climate system (Part 2) Optional ActivityCirculation in the atmosphere - a map and cross section based jigsaw Unit 6Capstone: A modern catastrophic volcanic eruption?
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