CLIMATE SYSTEMS AND CHANGE
In this assignment, you will explore patterns and characteristics of El Nino and the effects on global climate systems. Next, you will study areas that are predicted to change because of climate change.
- Describe the potential impact of El Nino at various scales.
- Compare and contrast characteristics of El Nino and La Nina.
- Describe changes in global temperature and precipitation amounts and infer their consequences on current bioregions.
El Nino and La Nina
ENGAGE: HOW CAN WE DETERMINE PROLONGED CHANGES IN THE ENVIRONMENT?
Step 1: Go to the ArcGIS Online map, Climate Change, and explore the map.
Step 2: With the Details button underlined, click the button, Show Contents of Map (Content).
Step 3: Turn on the four seasonal anomaly layers that show how different the temperature was in 2014 from the 30-year average (1950-1980) in Celsius.
Step 4: Click the button, Show Legend.
- Q: How can 2014 be the hottest year on record when most of central and eastern North America experienced the very "polar vortex during the winter season.
EXPLORE: WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL WITH A FEW-DEGREE INCREASE IN TEMPERATURE?
A 3 degree Celsius increase in temperature can make a big difference. The last ice age ended because of a 4 degree Celsius rise in global temperatures.
Step 5: Turn off the four seasonal anomaly layers.
- Q: What regions of the planet had the most significant increase in temperature during 2014?
ELABORATE: HOW WOULD WARMER CONDITIONS AFFECT PRECIPITATION?
Step 6: Click the button, Bookmarks. Select North America.
Step 7: Turn on the layer, Climate Shifts Koeppen-Geiger.
The data set allows for global, time-based animation of climate patterns from 1900 to 2100. The default display shows only the last 100 years, using an increment of 5 years. (Note: This can be modified with the Configure button.)
Step 8: Press the Play button.
- Q: What happens to the dark green, warm temperature zones? (These are wetter, forested areas).
- Q: What happens to the dry climate zones of the desert and adjacent grasslands in the United States?
- Q: What economic activity do grasslands provide in North America?
EVALUATE: CAN THE CONCERNS IN NORTH AMERICA BE EXTENDED TO OTHER CONTINENTS OR REGIONS?
Step 9: Change the time slider to 2100, and then use the Measure tool to see how much area will experience this warming trend.
- Q: What countries would appear to have the most concern about losing their grassland food production areas (tan) to desert (brown)?
- Q: Do you think the Steppes (prairies) of Asia in southern Russia and Kazakhstan have as much to worry about with grassland loss as the southern Great Plains of North America?
The two videos below come from the most recent reports on climate change. The video on the left focuses on the United Nations report released in 2018. The video on the right focuses on the United States report on climate change, also in 2018. The rest of the videos try to show you the potential or current consequences to climate change around the world.