Climate change causes glacial river in Yukon to change direction

from CBC News…

Glacier retreated so much that its meltwater switched course, in an event not documented in modern times.

Climate change has caused the massive Kaskawulsh Glacier in the Yukon to retreat so much that its meltwater abruptly switched direction, in the first documented case of “river piracy” in modern times.

Instead of flowing into the Slims River and then north to the Bering Sea, the water has changed course and now flows south toward the Kaskawulsh River, the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean, scientists have found.  Read more…

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/climate-change-yukon-river-piracy-1.4070153

Weekend Wandering 11: EarthLabs

EarthLanbsCongratulations to Carlton College in Minnesota. Through their Science Education Resource Lab (SERC), they have created dozens of Earth Science labs on their EarthLabs website. The labs are designed for high school students to discover, in their words…

What could be cooler than learning about the planet you live on?

The labs are all online with numerous links to data, graphics and animations.

Even better, they have a corollary site EarthLabs for Educators as a guidebook for teachers using the labs. Included are State and National Science Teaching Standards to make it easier to link the labs into courses.

Take a few minutes or, indeed, a few hours to wander through…

 

El Niño and this strange weather we’re having

ElNinoUnprecedented warm weather here in southern Ontario reminds us of the El Niño weather pattern creating it. Here are some backgrounders just added to the main page of GeoKnow.net:

From National Geographic:

CBC’s take on this:

And, just in case you missed it…

Happy Christmas everyone!

Climate Change done right

It’s quite astonishing that one of the best climate change information sites comes out of a country well-known for its climate change denyers. NASA’s Global Climate Change – Vital Signs of the Planet is excellent. The first menu option is FACTS presenting the evidence, causes, effects and consensus exactly as one would expect from good and proper science. If only my own government could do the same – allow scientists to say what’s really going on. [Aside: For those who don’t know, I don’t live in an oppressive developing nation, but in Canada, where our democratically elected government has been muzzling federal scientists (and here) for years now. Yes, it’s the same Canada of UN peacekeeping fame and the country that once promoted openness, fairness and democracy, but has gone through a difficult time under its current right-wing leadership. Perhaps the Oct 19 election will change that.]

It’s also surprising that a whole government agency (NASA) can be saying something that someone who hopes to be president (Donald Trump) calls a complete hoax

Back to the NASA site: In particular, you will find the Infographics page and the EarthMinute animations helpful, especially in a classroom setting. There are also a number of Interactives to allow some independent exploration of the issue. It’s the kind of site you could spend hours exploring. And if you have contact with Mr. Trump, you may want to suggest he reads this!

Berkeley Earth

WinterTchangeWant climate data? How about data going back to the 1700s and data for 40,000 locations around the world? If you need an example of “big data” this is it – and it’s free and openly accessible for students and educators (and anyone else interested!) and is called Berkeley Earth.

What I found particularly intriguing is that Berkeley Earth is an independent, not-for-profit organization and their data and methods are completely transparent and open to scientific scrutiny. They tell us exactly how they go about their climate analysis and, as mentioned above, provide all their data. Having the data available allows educators to design a plethora of activities for students to learn data mining, mapping and charting and analysis – all with real climate data.

To quote their “About our Data” page, “The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study has … combin[ed] 1.6 billion temperature reports from 16 preexisting data archives. Whenever possible, we have used raw data rather than previously homogenized or edited data. … [T]he current archive contains over 39,000 unique stations. This is roughly five times the 7,280 stations found in the Global Historical Climatology Network Monthly data set (GHCN-M) that has served as the focus of many climate studies. ”

TO-ClimateChangeFor interest sake, I navigated to the Results by Location page and looked up Toronto, shown here. Incredible! it states, rather matter-of-factly that, based on aggregate historical data, the mean rate of temperature change around Toronto is 5.38°C (±0.41) – higher than I expected, but that seems to fit the model for more northern areas seeing a higher-than-global rate of temperature change.

Interestingly, rather than reporting using specific data from individual stations, with all their inherent sources of error, Berkeley Earth have worked to reduce error by averaging with nearby stations, thus creating a series of averages based on latitude and longitude. For this reason, the data for Toronto are the same as the data for Guelph as they both represent the location: 44.20 N, 80.50 W.

I can envision having students who are new to the notion of climate change (Mmmm, my Gr 7s come to mind…), building a global picture of climate change themselves based on this data and some interesting mapping features in Google Sheets (which we, as a school, use). this sounds like fun!

Interactive World Map of Climate Graphs

Just published – an interactive climate graph map that makes studying and leaning about climate regions much easier. Simply click on a station and the climate graph for that location pops-up. Each climate graph is a jpeg image that can be copied and used for classroom work. Find the interactive climate graph map of the world at:
GeoKnow.net > Atmosphere