This unit allows students to investigate past changes in Earth's climate. Students first explore relationships in climate data such as temperature, solar radiation, carbon dioxide, and biodiversity. They then investigate solar radiation in more depth to learn about changes over time such as seasonal shifts. Students then learn about mechanisms for exploring past changes in Earth's climate such as ice cores, tree rings, fossil records, etc. Finally, students tie all these together by considering the feedbacks throughout the Earth system and reviewing an article on a past mass extinction event.

This video discusses impacts that the Eastern US is experiencing due to climate change. It describes the seasonal shifts that may affect tourism in New England, extreme heat in the Southeast, how rising sea level affects coastal areas, changes in hurricane intensity, the spread of invasive species and disease, as well as other topics.

In this video, a team of paleontologists, paleobotanists, soil scientists, and other researchers take to the field in Wyoming's Bighorn Basin to document how the climate, plants, and animals there changed during the Paleocene- Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). During this time a sudden, enormous influx of carbon flooded the ocean and atmosphere for reasons that are still unclear to scientists. The PETM is used as an analog to the current warming. The scientists' research may help inform our understanding of current increases in carbon in the atmosphere and ocean and the resulting impact on ecosystems.

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 on phenology of plants and bees discusses the MODIS satellite finding that springtime greening is happening one half-day earlier each year and correlates this to bee pollination field studies.

This video features Katharine Hayhoe presenting a lively discussion of impacts that the Midwestern US is experiencing due to climate change. It steps through evidence for 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 narrated slide show gives a brief overview of coral biology and how coral reefs are in danger from pollution, ocean temperature change, ocean acidification, and climate change. In addition, scientists discuss how taking cores from corals yields information on past changes in ocean temperature.

This video describes the role that dendrochronology plays in understanding climate change, especially changes to high elevation environments at an upper tree line. Dendrochronologists from the Big Sky Institute sample living and dead trees, describe how correlations between trees are made, and explain how tree cores record climate changes.

In this video from the Polaris Project Website, American and Siberian university students describe their research on permafrost.

This interactive module allows students and educators to build models that explain how the Earth system works. The Click and Learn application can be used to show how Earth is affected by human activities and natural phenomena.

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