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Global Temperature Change in the 21st Century (Abstract) | TIEE

Author(s): Emily Prince1, Daniel Taub2, Gillian Graham2

1. Lander University 2. Southwestern University

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Description

How might global temperature change during the 21st century?  How might these changes vary geographically, seasonally, and depending upon future human activities?

Students consider how to detect trends in large data sets against a background of variation. They use output from global climate models to examine projected climate change during the 21st century under a range of greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. Using Excel, they graph projected changes in temperature at particular locations over time and perform linear regressions. They compare projections of temperature change among emissions scenarios, across latitudinal gradients and between seasons. These exercises are adaptable to studying a wide range of climate parameters at any terrestrial location.

This module was taught in two 50-minute sessions of an upper-level Ecology course. Students were assigned the introduction of the module to read the night before the first session, and were expected submit answers to questions about the reading by midnight on the night before the class. On the first day of class, each pair of students were assigned a latitude, and created a graph to show how temperature was expected to change over time with each model. They used linear regression to analyze their results. On the second day of class, the students used the data generated on the first day to analyze how temperature changes were predicted to vary with season and with latitude.

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