- Climate varies over space and time through both natural and man-made processes
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Niño 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.
- 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.
Content Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Changes in Environments
- Changes in environments can be natural or influenced by humans. Some changes are good, some are bad, and some are neither good nor bad. Pollution is a change in the environment that can influence the health, survival, or activities of organisms, including humans.
Content Standard C: Life Science
Organisms and Their Environments
- All organisms cause changes in the environment where they live. Some of these changes are detrimental to the organism or other organisms, whereas others are beneficial.
- Humans depend on their natural and constructed environments. Humans change environments in ways that can be either beneficial or detrimental for themselves and other organisms.
The Interdependence of Organisms
- The atoms and molecules on the earth cycle among the living and nonliving components of the biosphere.
- Living organisms have the capacity to produce populations of infinite size, but environments and resources are finite. This fundamental tension has profound effects on the interactions between organisms.
- Human beings live within the world's ecosystems. Increasingly, humans modify ecosystems as a result of population growth, technology, and consumption. Human destruction of habitats through direct harvesting, pollution, atmospheric changes, and other factors is threatening current global stability, and if not addressed, ecosystems will be irreversibly affected.
Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science
- Movement of matter between reservoirs is driven by the earth's internal and external sources of energy. These movements are often accompanied by a change in the physical and chemical properties of the matter. Carbon, for example, occurs in carbonate rocks such as limestone, in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide gas, in water as dissolved carbon dioxide, and in all organisms as complex molecules that control the chemistry of life.
- By the end of grade 5:
- If Earth's global mean temperature continues to rise, the lives of humans and other organisms will be affected in many different ways. (Core Idea: Earth and Space Science 3.D)
- Research on a problem should be carried out-for example, through Internet searches, market research, or field observations-before beginning to design a solution. An often productive way to generate ideas is for people to work together to brainstorm, test, and refine possible solutions. (Core Idea: Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science, ETS 1.B)
- By the end of grade 8:
- Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns. Because these patterns are so complex, weather can be predicted only probabilistically. (Core Idea: Life Science 2.D)
- Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth's mean surface temperature (global warming). (Core Idea: Earth and Space Science 3.D)
- By the end of grade 12:
- Anthropogenic changes (induced by human activity) in the environment - including habitat destruction, pollution, introduction of invasive species, overexploitation, and climate change - can disrupt an ecosystem and threaten the survival of some species. (Core Idea: Life Science 2.C)
- Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate. (Core Idea: Life Science 2.D)
- Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
- Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
- Model with mathematics.
- Use appropriate tools strategically.
- Attend to precision.