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6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Videos, 1 minutes, 10 seconds
  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus


Climate Spiral

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  • This short video provides a visualization of monthly global temperature anomalies beginning in 1880.
  • The video is accompanied by a brief text explaining the spiral and the data behind it.
Teaching Tips


  • This is a valuable tool to understand how quickly global average temperatures have changed in recent decades.
  • Students can access the exact data used to create the spiral.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should understand how global warming is measured (degree increase above pre-industrial levels).
  • The video can be slowed down to make it easier to track the changes in the spiral over time.


  • Have students consider what it means for humanity and the planet when the increase in temperature above pre-industrial levels surpasses 1, 1.5, and 2 degrees Celsius.
  • Ask students why they think temperatures started to increase more dramatically after the mid-20th century.
  • Students can use the data provided to create their own data visualizations.
  • This resource can also be used in math or statistics classes during lessons about data visualization.
Scientist Notes
This visualization depicts the monthly global temperature anomalies for the years 1880 to 2021. The data used for the visualization is linked and cited in the description. This is a helpful visualization to show how global temperatures have changed over the time we have had detailed weather records and the anomaly base is the one widely used. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
      • HS-ESS3-5 Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
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