In this set of activities, students learn about impacts of drought through news videos of communities facing serious water shortages, analyze drought data and models, and research and evaluate potential solutions. This lesson works well as a component within a larger unit on climate change, its impacts, and ways to address the resulting issues.

This activity addresses climate change impacts that affect all states that are part of the Colorado River Basin and are dependent on its water. Students examine available data, the possible consequences of changes to various user groups, and suggest solutions to adapt to these changes.

This is an interactive map of California and the Sierra Nevada mountains, showing how the amount of water stored in the snowpack will vary under different climate scenarios. The tool shows observations and projections from 1950 to 2090, and uses low or high emission scenarios to model future snowpack. The tool can be adjusted to show different months of the year and various climate models, graphed by site.

This series of visualizations is part of a rich multi-agency effort to showcase the usefulness of open data (i.e., data provided in a discoverable, sharable, and machine-readable format) by exploring the 16-year drought as of 2016 and its effects on the Colorado River Basin.

In this video, NOAA's Deke Arndt, Chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch at the National Climatic Data Center, recaps the temperature and precipitation data for the continental US in summer 2012. It describes how these conditions have led to drought and reduced crop yields.

An interactive data visualization map of the USGS data of water usage from 2015 of the USA and US territories.

This easy-to-understand video animation describes drought and explains the different categories of drought used by the drought monitor. It discusses the effects of and contributions to drought, what the implications of the different drought levels are, and puts the drought maps into context to understand how the impacts vary geographically (e.g. drought in Nevada vs Kansas - one could affect tourism, the other agriculture). It also touches on how the development of maps/drought severity is determined and how it might vary geographically. The animation provides a basic overview of statistics and percentiles and the concept of '100 year events.'

This video takes viewers high into the Rocky Mountain snowpack, where researchers dig snow pits to explore the source of Colorado's water supply. Highlights the importance of snowpack on the supply of fresh water available in western and southwestern states. Snowmelt dynamics are discussed, including the impact of a warming climate.

This video discusses impacts that the Midwestern US is experiencing due to climate change. It describes how climate change is affecting agriculture, tourism, drought and flood, water cycles and freshwater availability, the spread of invasive species and disease, as well as other topics.

This video describes why tropical ice cores are important and provide different information than polar ice cores, why getting them now is important (they are disappearing), and how scientists get them. The work of glaciologist Lonnie Thompson is featured, with a focus on his work collecting cores of ice from high mountain glaciers that contain significant data about past climate change.

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