Skip to main content

Chapter 6

Global Climate Change

Section Learning Outcomes
Section 1
  • Understand the significance of growth rings in trees as indicators of environmental change.
  • Understand the significance of ice cores from glaciers as indicators of environmental change.
  • Investigate and understand the significance of geologic sediments as indicators of environmental change.
  • Examine the significance of glacial sediments and landforms as evidence for climate change.
  • Investigate and understand the significance of fossil pollen as evidence for climate change.
Section 2
  •  Understand that Earth has an axial tilt of about 23.5°.
  • Use a globe to model the seasons on Earth.
  • Investigate and understand the cause of the seasons in relation to the axial tilt of Earth.
  • Understand that the shape of Earth’s orbit around the Sun is an ellipse, and that this shape influences climate.
  • Understand that insolation to Earth varies as the inverse square of the distance to the Sun.
Section 3
  • Model present and ancient landmasses and oceans to determine current flow.
  • Explain how ocean currents affect regional and global climate.
  • Understand how ocean currents are affected by Earth’s moving plates.
  • Understand the relationship between climate and Earth processes, such as moving plates, mountain building, and weathering.
Section 4
  • Compare data to understand the relationship of carbon dioxide to global temperature.
  • Evaluate given data to draw a conclusion.
  • Recognize a pattern of graphed information in order to predict future temperature.
  • Understand some of the causes of climate change.
Section 5
  • Estimate, using maps, how much ice was contained in the Pleistocene ice sheet.
  • Use the estimate to calculate how much lower sea level was during the Pleistocene Epoch.
  • Estimate the volume of ice in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and calculate how much sea level would rise if they were to melt completely.
  • Determine whether sea-level changes would affect your community.
  • Understand the mechanics of postglacial rebound and how it impacts sea level.
Section 6
  • Model sea-level changes using a stream table.
  • Evaluate the uses and limitations of this type of model in Earth science.
  • Describe features of a coastal landscape during a time of rising sea level.
  • Describe features of a coastal landscape during a time of falling sea level.
  • Determine how your community’s landscape would be affected by rising and falling sea levels.
  • Describe ways that sea-level changes have affected human history.
Section 7
  • Brainstorm the ways that climate change might influence Earth’s spheres.
  • List ways that global warming might affect your community.
  • Design an experiment on paper to test your ideas.
  • Explain some of the effects of global warming that computer models of global climate have predicted.
  • Understand positive and negative feedback loops and their relationship to climate change.
  • Evaluate and understand the limitations of models in studying climate change through time.