Subjects & Disciplines
- Earth Science
- explore and critically analyze real-world data
- make claims about data and determine their own level of certainty with regard to their claims
- explore and critically analyze real-world data about changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over Earth's history
- describe what happens when solar radiation interacts with Earth's surface and atmosphere
- explain how greenhouse gases cause Earth's temperature to warm
- describe how carbon dioxide travels through Earth's system and identify sources and sinks for carbon dioxide
- explain how temperature affects the ocean's ability to absorb carbon dioxide
- explain the role of water, a greenhouse gas, on Earth's temperature
- explain the effects of temperature on carbon dioxide uptake by the oceans and water vapor in the atmosphere
- describe an example of a positive feedback loop in the Earth's climate system
- explain why it is necessary to consider multiple factors when modeling the climate
- explain why light-colored surfaces have a cooling effect on Earths' temperature
- describe the positive feedback loop between temperature and ice cover
- describe the negative feedback loop between cloud cover and temperature
- describe the uncertainty about the feedbacks of temperature, water vapor, and cloud cover that complicate scientists' ability to predict future climate conditions
- explore the complex interrelationships between Earth's surface and oceans, greenhouse gases, and temperature
- analyze the validity of climate models for predicting future climate conditions
- Inquiry-based learning
- Multimedia instruction
- Self-directed learning
- Self-paced learning
- Visual instruction
21st Century Student Outcomes
- Information, Media, and Technology Skills
- Learning and Innovation Skills
- 21st Century Themes
Critical Thinking Skills
Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices
What You’ll Need
The resources are also available at the top of the page.
- Internet Access: Required
- Internet access: Required
- Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, 1 computer per learner, 1 computer per small group, Interactive whiteboard, Projector
- Computer lab
- Media Center/Library
- Heterogeneous grouping
- Homogeneous grouping
- Large-group instruction
- Small-group instruction
Recommended Prior Lessons
to soak up.
scientific measurement of the amount of sunlight that is reflected by a surface.
layers of gases surrounding a planet or other celestial body.
greenhouse gas produced by animals during respiration and used by plants during photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is also the byproduct of burning fossil fuels.
to state as the truth.
all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time.
to give off or send out.
visual representation used in graphs to indicate the uncertainty in a measurement.
data that can be measured, observed, examined, and analyzed to support a conclusion.
mass of ice that moves slowly over land.
phenomenon where gases allow sunlight to enter Earth's atmosphere but make it difficult for heat to escape.
gas in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and ozone, that absorbs solar heat reflected by the surface of the Earth, warming the atmosphere.
long period of cold climate where glaciers cover large parts of the Earth. The last ice age peaked about 20,000 years ago. Also called glacial age.
sample of ice taken to demonstrate changes in climate over many years.
part of the electromagnetic spectrum with wavelengths longer than visible light but shorter than microwaves.
a mathematical model that requires extensive computational resources to study the behavior of a complex system by computer simulation.
A unit of measure of the amount of dissolved solids in a solution in terms of a ratio between the number of parts of solids to a million parts of total volume.
energy, emitted as waves or particles, radiating outward from a source.
calculation that analyzes data by creating a series of averages of different groups of a whole data set. Also called a moving mean, rolling mean, or moving average.
part of a physical system that absorbs some form of matter or energy.
having to do with the sun.
explosion in the sun's atmosphere, which releases a burst of energy and charged particles into the solar system.
ability of a substance to be dissolved or liquified.
any thing or place from which something comes, arises, or is obtained.
dark, cooler area on the surface of the sun that can move, change, and disappear over time.
collection of items or organisms that are linked and related, functioning as a whole.
degree of hotness or coldness measured by a thermometer with a numerical scale.
piece of data that can change.
molecules of liquid water suspended in the air.
For Further Exploration
Articles & Profiles
- National Geographic Magazine: The Case of the Missing Carbon
- National Geographic Education: Encyclopedia—Climate Change
- National Geographic: All About Climate
- National Geographic Education: Encyclopedia—Global Warming
- National Geographic News: Mysterious Clouds More Common Due to Climate Change?
- National Geographic: Daily News: Climate Predictions: Worst-Case May Be Most Accurate