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Dimming the Sun

Viewing Ideas

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Before Watching

  1. Ask students to explain what they know about global warming and global dimming. Review these climate phenomena with students, including how the phenomena are believed to occur and what their effects may be. (See Background for more information.)

  2. Organize students into three groups to take notes on the following topics as they watch the program: the possible causes of global dimming, the evidence that global dimming occurs, and the tools and techniques used to study global dimming.


After Watching

  1. Have groups present their notes. Why does global dimming occur only during the daylight hours, while global warming occurs both during day and night? How is global dimming causing scientists to re-evaluate current climate models? (Because global dimming seems to have been reducing the global temperature, the actual effect of global warming may be much stronger than predicted by current models.) Based on evidence presented in the program, what is the confidence level among students concerning current and future models of global dimming and global warming? Have students defend their reasoning.

  2. Ask students what can be done to reduce global dimming. (The particulate pollutants that block infrared and visible light can be reduced.) Should these steps be taken without also addressing global warming? Why or why not? (No, it seems most important to lessen both effects. Decreasing global dimming may increase the impact of global warming.) If what is depicted in the program is true, what steps would students be willing to take to reduce global dimming? Global warming?

Teacher's Guide
Dimming the Sun
BUY THE VIDEO PROGRAM OVERVIEW VIEWING IDEAS CLASSROOM ACTIVITY RELATED NOVA RESOURCES INTERACTIVE FOR STUDENTS
   

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