Climatic Warming Visualization

May 15, 2016

Ed Hawkins posted this extremely useful visualization of month-by-month, global temperature changes since 1850.

5_9_16_Andrea_TempSpiralEdHawkins

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2016. Climatic Warming Visualization, Retrieved April 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Working with Climate Data

March 14, 2013

Monthly climatic data from the Eads Bridge, from 1893 to the 1960’s. It’s a comma separated file (.csv) that can be imported into pretty much any spreadsheet program.

135045.csv

The last three columns are mean (MMNT), minimum (MNMT), and maximum (MXMT) monthly temperature data, which are good candidates for analysis by pre-calculus students who are studying sinusoidal functions. For an extra challenge, students can also try analyzing the total monthly precipitation patterns (TPCP). The precipitation pattern is not nearly as nice a sinusoidal function as the temperature.

Students should try to deconstruct the curve into component functions to see the annual cycles and any longer term patterns. This type of work would also be a precursor the the mathematics of Fourier analysis.

This data comes from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) website.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2013. Working with Climate Data, Retrieved April 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Snow and Ice Data

August 29, 2012

The National Snow and Ice Data Center has some interesting data-sets available, including a number of measures of the extent of Arctic sea-ice showing how fast it has been melting.

Current extent of Arctic Ice. Data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The Easy-to-use Data Products page has a lot of real data that middle and high school students can use for projects.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. Snow and Ice Data, Retrieved April 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Ice-Albedo: A not-so-Positive Feedback

August 29, 2012

This summer’s arctic ice cap is the smallest since we’ve started watching it from space in the 1970’s, and the summer isn’t over yet.

Over the last few years, the rate at which the ice is melting is accelerating, probably due to the ice-albedo feedback. Albedo refers to how reflective a surface is; the average of the Earth is about 31%, while snow and ice has an albedo closer to 90%.

When the albedo is high, a lot of sunlight is reflected back into space, but when it’s lowered, such as when the sea-ice melts, the surface absorbs a lot more sunlight, which heats it up. Of course, more heat melts more ice which further decreases the albedo which causes more warming which melts more ice …. And you can see the problem.

The ice albedo feedback takes a small change (melting ice) and accelerates it. That’s a positive feedback, although the effects are usually not what you want, because they take the system (the Earth’s climate in this case) away from it’s current equilibrium. This is not to say that there are no benefits; the Northwest Passage will open up eventually, if it has not already.

Extent of Arctic sea-ice at the end of August 2012. The orange line shows the average extent (1979-2000). We're a bit on the low side at the moment. Data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

ClimateCentral.org the NSIDC

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. Ice-Albedo: A not-so-Positive Feedback, Retrieved April 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

History of the Atmosphere (from the Formation of the Earth)

April 21, 2012

Composition of the atmosphere from the formation of the Earth. Image ᔥJoel CayfordEthan Siegal

Joel Cayford has posted a nice image showing the composition of the atmosphere over time — since the formation of the Earth.

Note that, although the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and life has been around for over 4 billion years, there has only been oxygen in the atmosphere for about 2 billion years.

Oxygen is an extremely reactive gas, which is why we use it when we “burn” carbohydrates for energy. But it also means that any free oxygen added to the atmosphere would easily react with rocks, water, and other gasses in the atmosphere, so would not be available in the quantities needed for air breathing organisms until it slowly accumulated.

Also, you need a lot of oxygen in the atmosphere to produce enough ozone to form the ozone layer that protects life at the surface from high-energy, cancer-inducing, ultra-violet radiation from the Sun.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. History of the Atmosphere (from the Formation of the Earth), Retrieved April 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

The Real-Time ITCZ

April 17, 2012

NOAA provides real-time (at least in the last 6 hours) images of the tropical Atlantic, which will often show the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) quite nicely.

They show images captured using visible light:

Tropical Atlantic using visible light. (ᔥEUMETSAT, ↬NOAA)

As well as infra-red:

Tropical Atlantic using visible light. (ᔥEUMETSAT, ↬NOAA)

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. The Real-Time ITCZ, Retrieved April 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Wind Patterns (for the U.S.)

April 10, 2012

U.S wind patterns (excerpt from April 10th, 2012) HINT.FM

HINT.FM has an amazing animation of winds over the U.S.. A major part of the awesomeness is that it’s updated hourly from the National Weather Service’s weather database, which has an awful lot of excellent data available.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. Wind Patterns (for the U.S.), Retrieved April 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Spring is Coming Earlier

March 24, 2012

The average change in the date of "first leaf" in the United States. Note that states farther to the north have seen greater change. Image from the interactive by Climate Central.

In Missouri, between 1981 and 2010 the average date at which trees first showed their leaves was two days earlier than the average between 1951 and 1980, according to this graphic by Climate Central.

You’ll also note the north-south trend, where change is greater as you go north. Most models predict that global warming/climate change due to increasing carbon dioxide will result in bigger changes as you get toward the poles.

The map is based on data from the National Phenology Network. The National Phenology Network has a good educational resource page, as well as access to their datasets.

Spring has been coming two days earlier (on average) in Missouri. Image from Climate Central.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2012. Spring is Coming Earlier, Retrieved April 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

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