Students will be able to:
1. Predict changes that will occur to the Sierra Nevada snowpack if the climate change continues
2. Predict the changes that will result on the biosphere due to climate change
The Earth consists of four systems: the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere, which are interconnected. Changes to one part of the system can have consequences on the others. Changes to global or regional climate can be caused by changes in the sun's energy output or Earth's orbit, tectonic events, ocean circulation, volcanic activity, glaciers, vegetation, and human activity.
Water is essential for life on Earth. Relative water availability is a major factor in designating habitats for different living organisms. In the United States, things like agriculture and water rights are hot topics. Current models predict that average global temperatures are going to continue to rise even if regional climate changes remain complex and varied. These changes will have an impact on all of Earth's systems.
Studies have shown that climate change is driven not only by natural effects but also by human activities. Knowledge of the factors that affect climate, coupled with responsible management of natural resources, are required for sustaining these Earth systems. Long-term change can be anticipated using science-based predictive models, making science and engineering essential to understanding global climate change and its possible impacts.
National Parks can serve as benchmarks for climate science trends and effects over time because they are protected areas void of human influence. Understanding current climate trends will help set students up to be successful in interpreting and engaging in discussions about climate change, which will lead to informed decision making.
Day 1- Earth as a System
Day 2- Weather vs Climate
Day 3- Watershed
Day 4- Climate Science Data and Tools
Day 5- Field Trip
Day 6- NPS Connections
Day 7- Project Preparation
Day 8- Evaluations
Most of the materials for this unit are provided in the Stream Flow River Study Trunk or as downloadable files.
Video A Way Forward: Dealing with Climate Change
Video Ca Dept of Water Resources Snow Surveying [Note: wmv format]
Large graph paper, i.e. butcher paper 1 per 2 students (Teacher provided)
Markers 1 set per 2 students (Teacher provided)
Optional: computers with Excel
Display the DoNow: How have climate changes influenced human activities? How could Mammoth Lakes be affected if the climate continues to change?
1. Display video – A way forward.
2. Distribute stream flow historical data, graph paper, and markers or visit computer lab for students to pull up Excel. Snowpack is a natural water reservoir that slowly releases its water over time. This release directly impacts streams and rivers. Studying stream flow over a long period of time can show us how snowpack and streams are being affected by climate change. Have students plot climate science data on large graph paper. Display your graph where instructed.
3. Monitor student gallery walk as they make comments and observations about climate change data.
1. Display video – DWR snow surveying.
2. Distribute article Weather and Climate Monitoring at Devil's Postpile National Monument. Have students write a thesis sentence for this article.
Distribute exit ticket – Why is the Sierra Nevada snowpack important to other areas of California and the United States?