Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science

  1. Climate varies over space and time through both natural and man-made processes
    1. Climate is determined by the long-term pattern of temperature and precipitation averages and extremes at a location. Climate descriptions can refer to areas that are local, regional, or global in extent. Climate can be described for different time intervals, such as decades, years, seasons, months, or specific dates of the year.
    2. Climate is not the same thing as weather. Weather is the minute-by-minute variable condition of the atmosphere on a local scale. Climate is a conceptual description of an area's average weather conditions and the extent to which those conditions vary over long time intervals.
    3. Climate change is a significant and persistent change in an area's average climate conditions or their extremes. Seasonal variations and multi-year cycles (for example, the El NiƱo Southern Oscillation) that produce warm, cool, wet, or dry periods across different regions are a natural part of climate variability. They do not represent climate change.
    4. Scientific observations indicate that global climate has changed in the past, is changing now, and will change in the future. The magnitude and direction of this change is not the same at all locations on Earth.

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National Science Education Standards

Content Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

Changes in Environments

Content Standard C: Life Science

Organisms and Their Environments

The Interdependence of Organisms

Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science

Geochemical Cycles

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A Framework for K-12 Science Education

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Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practices

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  3. Model with mathematics.
  4. Use appropriate tools strategically.
  5. Attend to precision.

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