HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT WE KNOW?
USING CLIMATE SCIENCE AS A VEHICLE TO INCREASE
STUDENT CONFIDENCE IN SCIENTIFIC DATA AND
INTE...
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF CLIMATE SCIENTISTS AGREE THAT
THE EARTH IS WARMING AND HUMANS ARE THE CAUSE?

Doran 2009
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE U.S. PUBLIC AGREE THAT THE
EARTH IS WARMING AND HUMANS ARE THE CAUSE?
WHAT DO WE KNOW?
 Earth is warming.
 Humans have been the main
cause of warming over the
past 60 years (95-100% prob).
...
SAYS WHO?
 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
 1000s of climate scientists from around the world and represen...
WORKSHOP ACTIVITIES
Ways of knowing about climate

Classroom Activities

Climate models

Model Resolution

Paleoclimate pr...
ABOUT CLIMATE MODELING
 What is a climate model?

Scenarios of Future Carbon Dioxide Global Emissions and Concentrations
...
MODEL RESOLUTION
MODEL RESOLUTION ACTIVITY
 Step 1: Tape grid paper to top
of container (lower or higher
resolution grids).
 Step 2: Poke...
PALEOCLIMATOLOGY: AN INVESTIGATION
 What is a proxy?
 Resolution vs. Span
 Examples of proxies







Ice cores
T...
INDIRECT CLUES ABOUT PAST CLIMATES ARE
KNOWN AS PALEOCLIMATE PROXIES, OR
PROXY RECORDS

Just as Sherlock Holmes might infe...
TWO FACTORS ARE USED TO DESCRIBE
TYPES OF PALEOCLIMATE PROXY DATA
 Span – how far back in time the record allows us to pe...
SOME TYPES OF PROXIES
 Speleothems: the chemistry of
limestone deposits provide clues to
past climate
 Tree rings: the t...
ICE CORES

http://michigantoday.umich.edu/2009/11/vostok-graph.jpg
VIDEO: ICE CORE SECRETS COULD REVEAL
ANSWERS TO GLOBAL WARMING
VIDEO: DEMO OF O-16 AND O-18
PHYSICAL MODEL
PC1 VS. TEMPERATURE
GREENLAND 1829-1970
8.000
6.000
4.000

R² = 0.497

PC1

2.000
0.000

-2.000

PC1 values
Linear (PC1 va...
MATCHING DATA AND MEANING
 On your table
 Graphs of data from the instrumental record of climate and
global change from ...
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Learn more about climate science at spark.ucar.edu
For workshop resources: spark.ucar.edu/workshops
...
MORE SPARK WORKSHOPS
 Cooking Up Weather in the Primary Classroom
Friday, 8-9am Room MHB-2A
 Computer Games, Simulations...
CLIMATE CHANGE: A TEACHING PERSPECTIVE
Jeff Kiehl
Senior Scientist
National Center for Atmospheric
Research
Thursday, 3:30...
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How we know what we know about climate change

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Presentation for science educators at the National Science Teachers Association conference in Denver, CO 2013 about how climate scientists use data from paleoclimate proxies, current observations of the Earth system, and models of future climates to gain an understanding of Earth's climate.

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  • Climate models:Global climate models (GCMs) use mathematical equations to describe the behavior of factors of the Earth system that impact climate. These factors include dynamics of the atmosphere, oceans, land surface, living things, and ice, plus energy from the Sun. Sophisticated climate models are increasingly able to include details such as clouds, rainfall, evaporation, and sea ice. Thousands of climate researchers use global climate models to better understand the long-term effects of global changes such as increasing greenhouses gases or decreasing Arctic sea ice. The models are used to simulate conditions over hundreds of years, so that we can predict how our planet's climate will likely change.Caption for the graph: The graphs show recent and projected global emissions of carbon dioxide in gigatons of carbon, on the left, and atmosphericconcentrations on the right under five emissions scenarios. The top three in the key are IPCC scenarios that assume no explicitclimate policies (these are used in model projections that appear throughout this report). The bottom line is a “stabilizationscenario,” designed to stabilize atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration at 450 parts per million. The inset expanded belowthese charts shows emissions for 1990-2010 under the three IPCC scenarios along with actual emissions to 2007 (in black).Reference: IPCC Emissions Scenarios (Even Higher, Higher EmissionScenario, Lower Emission Scenario): Nakićenović, N. and R.Swart (eds.), 2000: Appendix VII: Data tables. In: Special Reporton Emissions Scenarios. A special report of Working Group IIIof the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. CambridgeUniversity Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York. <http://www.grida.no/publications/other/ipcc_sr/?src=/climate/ipcc/emission/>Emission trajectories are spline fits as per Raupach, M.R., G.Marland, P. Ciais, C. Le Quéré, J.G. Canadell, G. Klepper, and C.B.Field, 2007: Global and regional drivers of accelerating CO2 emissions.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(24),10288-10293.
  • Higher resolution means more accurate data, but takes longer and costs more
  • Randy
  • Teri
  • How we know what we know about climate change

    1. 1. HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT WE KNOW? USING CLIMATE SCIENCE AS A VEHICLE TO INCREASE STUDENT CONFIDENCE IN SCIENTIFIC DATA AND INTERPRETATION Nathan Hobbs Becca Hatheway Lisa Gardiner
    2. 2. WHAT PERCENTAGE OF CLIMATE SCIENTISTS AGREE THAT THE EARTH IS WARMING AND HUMANS ARE THE CAUSE? Doran 2009
    3. 3. WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE U.S. PUBLIC AGREE THAT THE EARTH IS WARMING AND HUMANS ARE THE CAUSE?
    4. 4. WHAT DO WE KNOW?  Earth is warming.  Humans have been the main cause of warming over the past 60 years (95-100% prob).  The amounts of CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide are higher than they ’ve been for 800,000 years.  If we reduce emissions we can limit future warming, however some warming is inevitable.
    5. 5. SAYS WHO?  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  1000s of climate scientists from around the world and representatives from world nations, an effort coordinated by the United Nations.  IPCC 5 th Assessment Report – The Physical Science Basis  Released September 2013  Includes the current state of understanding of climate and climate change (and how we know what we know about climate).
    6. 6. WORKSHOP ACTIVITIES Ways of knowing about climate Classroom Activities Climate models Model Resolution Paleoclimate proxies Oxygen Isotopes Instrumental record Matching Data and Meaning
    7. 7. ABOUT CLIMATE MODELING  What is a climate model? Scenarios of Future Carbon Dioxide Global Emissions and Concentrations  Global climate models (GCMs) use mathematical equations to describe the behavior of factors of the Earth system that impact climate  Climate scientist perspective on confidence in climate models Nakićenović, N. and R. Swart (eds.), 2000: Appendix VII: Data tables. In: Special Report on Emissions Scenarios
    8. 8. MODEL RESOLUTION
    9. 9. MODEL RESOLUTION ACTIVITY  Step 1: Tape grid paper to top of container (lower or higher resolution grids).  Step 2: Poke skewers through paper at the intersections.  Step 3: Tr y to determine the shape of the legos in the bottom of the box based on the height of the skewers. Mark this shape on blank grid paper.  Step 4: Compare shapes between high and low resolution grids.  Step 5: After you’re done… check the bottom of the box to see the shape of the legos!
    10. 10. PALEOCLIMATOLOGY: AN INVESTIGATION  What is a proxy?  Resolution vs. Span  Examples of proxies       Ice cores Tree rings Pollen Speleothems Coral Historical documents  The Water Cycle, Oxygen-18, and Ice Cores
    11. 11. INDIRECT CLUES ABOUT PAST CLIMATES ARE KNOWN AS PALEOCLIMATE PROXIES, OR PROXY RECORDS Just as Sherlock Holmes might infer the height, weight and other telltale features of a suspect from a series of footprints, paleoclimatologists infer the climatic conditions of the past from tree rings, ice cores, layers of ocean sediments, and similar proxy evidence. (Randy Russell, Spark: UCAR Science Education)
    12. 12. TWO FACTORS ARE USED TO DESCRIBE TYPES OF PALEOCLIMATE PROXY DATA  Span – how far back in time the record allows us to peer.  Tree ring records span the most recent few thousands of years.  Ice core records go back as much as hundreds of thousands of years.  Fossils can be up to hundreds of millions of years old.  Resolution – the level of detail of a proxy record.  Tree ring data can have an annual resolution.  Ocean sediments, on the other hand, often have resolutions on the order of a century because sediments are mixed by currents and burrowing marine life, blending short-term trends.
    13. 13. SOME TYPES OF PROXIES  Speleothems: the chemistry of limestone deposits provide clues to past climate  Tree rings: the thickness of rings is an indicator of growing season conditions.  Coral: chemistry of skeletal layers provides clues to past climate.  Pollen: the variety of plant species (identified from pollen), combined with information about the climate where those species typically thrive, provides clues to past climate And also …
    14. 14. ICE CORES http://michigantoday.umich.edu/2009/11/vostok-graph.jpg
    15. 15. VIDEO: ICE CORE SECRETS COULD REVEAL ANSWERS TO GLOBAL WARMING
    16. 16. VIDEO: DEMO OF O-16 AND O-18 PHYSICAL MODEL
    17. 17. PC1 VS. TEMPERATURE GREENLAND 1829-1970 8.000 6.000 4.000 R² = 0.497 PC1 2.000 0.000 -2.000 PC1 values Linear (PC1 values) -4.000 -6.000 -8.000 -16 -14 -12 -10 -8 -6 Average Temperature ( C) -4 -2 0 2
    18. 18. MATCHING DATA AND MEANING  On your table  Graphs of data from the instrumental record of climate and global change from the IPCC 5 th Assessment Report.  Statements that are supported by the graphed data  Statements that are not supported by graphed data  Match each graph with the statement that it supports. (Note: This activity is a prototype and we’d like your feedback.)
    19. 19. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Learn more about climate science at spark.ucar.edu For workshop resources: spark.ucar.edu/workshops Becca Hatheway – hatheway@ucar.edu Lisa Gardiner – lisagard@ucar.edu Thank you for coming!
    20. 20. MORE SPARK WORKSHOPS  Cooking Up Weather in the Primary Classroom Friday, 8-9am Room MHB-2A  Computer Games, Simulations, & Virtual Labs Saturday, 11-12pm, Room MHB-4B  Weather Headlines Saturday, 11-12pm, Room MHB-2B
    21. 21. CLIMATE CHANGE: A TEACHING PERSPECTIVE Jeff Kiehl Senior Scientist National Center for Atmospheric Research Thursday, 3:30-4:30 Convention Center Room 103/105 Overview of the findings of the recent Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and discussion of the basic science.
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