Exploring the Link Between Hurricanes and Climate Using GCM Results

Cindy Shellito, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Northern Colorado.

This page is a supplement to the original activity description found here

Short description of the activity:

This activity requires students to examine global climate model output available online and consider the potential impact of global warming on tropical cyclone initiation and evolution. As a follow-up, students read two short articles on the connection between hurricanes and global warming and discuss these articles in context of what they have learned from model output.

How does this activity lend itself to teaching the methods of geoscience?

This activity enables students to investigate for themselves a key question associated with global warming: will there be more frequent, or stronger, hurricanes? Students become the scientists as they analyze climate model output in the context of what they understand about hurricane formation. They must also consider how to face uncertainties associated with climate models, and with their interpretations of the results.

Assessment: How are the methods of geoscience assessed?

To assess student understanding of the methods of geoscience in this activity, students could be required to write a short report (individually, or in groups), addressing the following: the focus of their investigation, a summary of the most interesting features identified in the their examination of model output, a discussion of their own conclusions in the context of the assigned papers.