For the InstructorThese student materials complement the Water Science and Society Instructor Materials. If you would like your students to have access to the student materials, we suggest you either point them at the Student Version which omits the framing pages with information designed for faculty (and this box). Or you can download these pages in several formats that you can include in your course website or local Learning Managment System. Learn more about using, modifying, and sharing InTeGrate teaching materials.
Summative Assessment: Local impacts of climate change
How does climate change impact your hometown?
Most places on Earth will be impacted by global warming and climate change in a multitude of ways. Some locations are especially vulnerable, as they will be flooded by sea level rise or put at substantially greater risk of stronger hurricanes and storm surges or many water-stressed regions are likely to receive even less precipitation in the future (despite populations that continue to grow). Other places are less vulnerable, perhaps because climate change is not likely to impact the weather and water availability as severely, or because the community/ecosystem is resilient to the changes (e.g., flood risk does not change much if communities have not developed the floodplains, even if flood magnitudes are expected to increase considerably). And it should not be missed that some locations are likely to experience economic benefits as a result of global warming and climate change (e.g., precipitation is expected to increase in a location that is currently water-stressed).
Assignment: Essay on local implications of climate change
In this Summative Assessment, we would like you to investigate what climate change means for your hometown. After reading all of the material in the module, find at least two additional reliable resources (the most recent IPCC report is strongly recommended as one source) and write a 1 page essay that addresses each of the following questions. The target audience for your essay should be college-educated adults.
1. Briefly, is climate change happening on a global scale? If so, what are the causes and ranges of implications (you'll have to be succinct here!)? How do we know (with high certainty) what we know about the recent and future trajectory of climate change and what remains largely uncertain?
2. Study figures in this module (Figures 2, 3 and 4) and elsewhere and explain how climate change is expected to impact water resources in your hometown. How are precipitation, soil moisture, runoff, etc. expected to change by the end of this century?
3. Discuss specifics of how those changes are likely to impact industry, domestic supply and ecosystems. Provide as many specifics as possible. It will help to research the water resouces and economics of your hometown. Would you classify your hometown as extremely vulnerable, moderately vulnerable, moderately resilient, or very resilient to expected changes in climate by the end of the century?
4. Has learning about the vulnerability/resilience of your hometown to climate change changed your opinion of whether/how you want to live there or how certain aspects of the community/economy develop?