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Ecosystems: Human Impact


Global warming and greenhouse gases

Global warming has not stopped

Global warming: Pause in the rate of temp rise

Global warming Industry knew of climate change

Global warming: Adjusted data sets are a normal part of science

Climate skeptics are not like Galileo.

Yes, the climate has always changed. But this shows why that’s no comfort: XKCD infographic

If all land ice melted how would coastlines change

Global warming GIF

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Sciences: Global warming observed from 1980 to 2012

American Physical Society (APS)

Statement on climate change and science (April 2015)

greenhouse2 greenhouse 3

“Earth’s changing climate is a critical issue that poses the risk of significant disruption around the globe. While natural sources of climate variability are significant, multiple lines of evidence indicate that human influences have had an increasingly dominant effect on the climate warming observed since the mid-twentieth century. Although the magnitudes of future effects are uncertain, human influences on the climate are growing. The potential consequences of climate change are great and the policies of the next few decades will determine human influences on the climate for centuries.”

“As summarized in the 2013 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there continues to be significant progress in climate science. In particular, the connection between rising concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases and the increased warming of the global climate system is more certain than ever. Nevertheless, as recognized by Working Group 1 of the IPCC, scientific challenges remain to our abilities to observe, interpret, and project climate changes. To better inform societal choices, the APS urges sustained research in climate science.”

“The APS reiterates its 2007 call to support actions that will reduce the emissions, and ultimately the concentration, of greenhouse gases, as well as increase the resilience of society to a changing climate. Because physics and its techniques are fundamental elements of climate science, the APS further urges physicists to collaborate with colleagues across disciplines in climate research and to contribute to the public dialogue.”

– The American Physical Society (APS) is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities.


Next Generation Science Standards, on climate change


Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Standards
Based on the Next Generation Science Standards, December, 2013

7.MS-LS2-4. Analyze data to provide evidence that disruptions (natural or human-made) to any physical or biological component of an ecosystem can lead to shifts in all its populations.

7.MS-LS2-6(MA). Explain how changes to the biodiversity of an ecosystem—the variety of species found in the ecosystem—may limit the availability of resources humans use.

7.MS-LS2-4. Analyze data to provide evidence that disruptions (natural or human-made) to any physical or biological component of an ecosystem can lead to shifts in all its populations.

HS-ESS2-2. Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s hydrosphere can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
Clarification Statement: Examples can include how decreasing the amount of glacial ice reduces the amount of sunlight reflected from Earth’s surface, increasing surface temperatures and further reducing the amount of ice; how the loss of ground vegetation causes an increase in water runoff and soil erosion; how dammed rivers increase groundwater recharge, decrease sediment transport, and increase coastal erosion; and how the loss of wetlands causes a decrease in local humidity that further reduces the wetland extent.

HS-ESS2-4. Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems over different time scales result in changes in climate. Analyze and interpret data to explain that long-term changes in Earth’s tilt and orbit result in cycles of climate change such as Ice Ages.
Clarification Statement: Examples of the causes of climate change differ by timescale: large volcanic eruption and ocean circulation over 1–10 years; changes in human activity, ocean circulation, and solar output over tens to hundreds of years;

HS-ESS2-6. Use a model to describe cycling of carbon through the ocean, atmosphere, soil, and biosphere and how increases in carbon dioxide concentrations due to human activity have resulted in atmospheric and climate changes.

HS-ESS3-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of key natural resources and changes due to variations in climate have influenced human activity.
Clarification Statements: Examples of key natural resources include access to fresh water (such as rivers, lakes, and groundwater), regions of fertile soils (such as river deltas), high concentrations of minerals and fossil fuels, and biotic resources (such as fisheries and forests). Examples of changes due to variations in climate include changes to sea level and regional patterns of temperature and precipitation.

HS-ESS3-2. Evaluate competing design solutions for minimizing impacts of developing and using energy and mineral resources, and conserving and recycling those resources, based on economic, social, and environmental cost-benefit ratios.*
Clarification Statement: Examples include developing best practices for agricultural soil use, mining (for metals, coal, tar sands, and oil shales), and pumping (for petroleum and natural gas).
HS-ESS3-3. Illustrate relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.

HS-ESS3-5. Analyze results from global climate models to describe how forecasts are made of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.

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