In this activity, students calculate temperatures during a time in the geologic record when rapid warming occurred using a well known method called 'leaf-margin analysis.' Students determine the percentage of the species that have leaves with smooth edges, as opposed to toothed, or jagged, edges. Facsimiles of fossil leaves from two collection sites are examined, categorized, and the data is plugged into an equation to provide an estimate of paleotemperature for two sites in the Bighorn Basin. It also introduces students to a Smithsonian scientist who worked on the excavation sites and did the analysis.
A collection of repeat photography of glaciers from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The photos are taken years apart at or near the same location, illustrating how dramatically glacier positions can change even over a relatively short period in geological time: 60 to 100 years. Background essay and discussion questions are included.
Students will use real satellite data to determine 1) where the greatest concentrations of aerosols are located during the course of a year in the tropical Atlantic region and 2) their source of origin. This is an inquiry-style lesson where students pull real aerosol data and attempt to identify trends among data sets.
This figure, the famous Keeling Curve, shows the history of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations as directly measured at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. This curve is an essential piece of evidence that shows the increased greenhouse gases that cause recent increases in global temperatures.
This video, from ClimateCentral, features a team of scientists from the Northern Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling Project (NEEM), who study atmospheric air bubbles trapped in an ice core from a period in Greenland's ice sheet which began about 130,000 years ago and lasted about 10,000 years; a period known as the Eemian. The air bubbles from the ancient atmosphere - all aligned on the same time scale - reveal what happened with climate change over that period of time.
This is a multi-faceted activity that offers students a variety of opportunities to learn about permafrost through an important sink and source of greenhouse gas (methane), about which most students living in lower latitudes know little.