Introduction to Earth’s Dynamically Changing Climate


Big Idea

Remote sensing and digital imagery provide us with a glimpse of our changing Earth. Comparing measurements of sea level, land ice, Arctic sea ice, and carbon dioxide over the past decades suggest that the Earth’s climate is warming—a phenomenon that is attested to by an increase in the mean annual surface temperature of the Earth’s surface. Examine evidence of climate change from different parts of the Earth’s system and consider what it means to live on a planet with a dynamically changing climate.

Data Activity

Examining the Vital Signs


How is the Earth’s climate changing? Within the mainstream scientific community the fundamentals of global warming and climate change are no longer in question and increasing evidence shows that human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and land degradation, cattle ranching, and rice farming, play a significant part in contributing to this change. Examine evidence of climate change from different parts of Earth’s system and consider what it means to live on a planet with a dynamically changing climate.


This module is aligned to the following national learning and curriculum standards:


In this module, you will:

  1. Analyze diverse kinds of data around the world that document a warming planet.
  2. Analyze graphical representations and scientific visualizations of data exhibiting climate change.
  3. Consider strategies to engage students in data analysis.

Keeping Notes

Set up a journal to take notes as you participate in this experience. Your journal can be an online tool or offline notebook – whichever works for you and your learning style.

Background Information

The first satellite images of Earth, taken more than 50 years ago, revolutionized our understanding of the world we live in. From our first glimpse of a storm thousands of miles across, a storm that seemed impossibly large at the time, scientists began to realize that the Earth’s atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere all interact with each other to generate our weather systems, and ultimately, our global climate.


This professional development experience was funded by NASA's Global Climate Change Education initiative. This initiative is designed to improve the quality of the nation's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education and enhance students' and teachers' literacy about global climate and Earth system change from elementary grades to lifelong learners.

Global Climate Change Modules

Online Professional Development

PBS Teacherline

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