User Scenario: Teaching Geoscience with Global and Local Settings

Tom Boyd -- Colorado School of Mines
David Mogk -- University of Montana
Bill Prothero -- University of California, Santa Barbara
Bruce Caron -- The New Media Studio

Climate Change inputs and impacts (Bruce Caron):
Global --> Local

Global climate change models provide forecasts for the impacts of climate change on a global scale. These forecasts have also been refigured at global-regional, national, and, in the US, sub-national scale.

Public perceptions of the impacts of potential climate changes over the next hundred years may not reflect the scope of these impacts at the global scale, in part because these impacts have not been reflected at the local scale, for example at the urban setting within the regions.

What we would like so see is a way to bring the IPCC impact assessment information down to an urban scale (within each sub-national region in the US) in order to make the impacts of global change more immediate to the 90% of US citizens that live in urban areas.

We would like students to be able to ask questions of the data about the climate change impacts that create correlations with their lifestyle interests (e.g., impact on snow levels and seasons for downhill skiing).

We would like to see layered GIS information about how the current climate conditions support the economy and the lifestyle conditions locally so that the changes can be contrasted as different values for these. This baseline information, relating climate to economy and the effects of weather, needs to be understood before the notion of climate change can acquire meaning.

We would like students to use layered raster and vector (e.g. earth satellite/climate model and GIS resources) data together to explore the connections between social and climate variables.

Local --> Global

We would want the students to also look at the IPCC scenarios that use population and energy usage information and derive greenhouse gas emissions levels and then climate change, and to be able to quantify how local energy conservation can contribute to lower global greenhouse gas emissions (and perhaps by globalizing the values of local change to show how an international agreement can have a major impact).

We would like to be able to also use urban population and geography information in combination with the climate change data sets to explore how historical housing patterns (social geography) might lead to differential effects among different social groups (e.g. groups that have housing in low-lying areas in the watershed contrasted to groups that have housing on higher ground.)

Data Needs: social-economic data for the locale (GIS), locally salient climate change impact assessment data, data and information on the IPCC scenarios and the emissions models that these serve as input into, access to coupled ocean-atmosphere models to run emissions inputs.

Outcomes: students working as a group would create a report on the anticipated impacts of climate change for the locale, and the potential impact that changes in behavior might have for global climate.

The NSDL could support this by providing access to the IPCC data (e.g., through SEDAC) and additional GIS collections for socio-economic data that covers the US.

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