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Climate Change

Author(s): Kelly O'Donnell

Science Forward

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This video describes the basic science of climate change. How do we know about climate in the past? What are humans interfering with? How can we make predictions about what will happen in the future?

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0 - published on 24 Jul 2018 doi:10.25334/Q4DH6H - cite this


Climate change is the planetary issue of our time and it’s the issue where human beings finally realized that they were affecting everything. This video looks at some of the ways scientists are able to understand the state of our climate…from thousands of years in the past to the present and projecting into the future.

Science Senses:

Data Sense

  • Using proxies
  • Using models
  • Finding relationships and trends

Knowledge Sense

  • Understanding how science makes progress: replication of results
  • Applying scientific knowledge

Classroom Ideas:

  • Climate Modeling – NASA Goddard has developed an educational version of their climate models that students can use to explore climate variables. See: (DS – using models)
  • Data Interpretation – Put together a portfolio of climate figures (IPCC forcings, sea level, global temperature, ice record, fire frequency, etc.). Have students work in groups to understand the data being described and then present that data to the class. If there’s time, discuss how some of these graphs can be misinterpreted to support a climate denier’s viewpoint. (DS – using proxies, using models, doing statistical analysis, interpreting graphs; KS – communicating science)

Possible Readings:

  • Hansen J. 2004. Defusing the global warming time bomb. Scientific American. Pages 69-77.
  • Hansen et al. 2012. Perception of climate change. PNAS. E2415-E2423.
  • Earle. 2015. Chapter 19: Climate Change from Earle. Physical Geology. OER

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