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Author

National Integrated Heat Health Information System

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College

Subjects

Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Math, Health

Resource Types

  • Interactive Media
  • Data

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, USA - South, USA - Midwest, USA - Northeast, New Jersey

The Climate Explorer

Synopsis
  • This interactive tool displays a wide array of temperature, precipitation, tidal flooding, and extreme weather data from across the United States through interactive graphs and maps.
  • The data clearly indicate the effects of the changing climate, including increasing average temperatures and more extreme weather events.
  • Students can examine specific locations to gain additional insights and see a variety of graphs and maps for each location.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • The tool is easy to navigate and includes different forms of data visualization like maps, bar graphs, and line graphs, which students can scroll over for more detailed information.
  • The data is summarized in the Take Action section, where you can find brief, easy-to-understand points on how your selected area is impacted by climate change.
  • Data is available for all 50 U.S. states, territories, counties, and county equivalents.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be able to read line graphs, bar graphs, and maps.
  • As there are many indicators of the impacts of climate change, it may be helpful for your students to scroll through the dependent variables (e.g., Average Daily Maximum Temperature) in the climate graphs/maps section for a quick overview of each variable.
  • Although not indicated directly on the Climate Map, the area on the left of the scroll bar on the map represents past conditions, whereas the area on the right represents projected conditions.

Differentiation

  • Both graphs and maps can be downloaded to be used offline.
  • For students who may be struggling to understand the maps and graphs, each tool includes an About section that provides tips for reading the data.
  • This resource can also be used in social science classes to draw conclusions about how the people and communities in the most affected areas are likely to be impacted.
  • Biology classes could use this tool to connect to lessons about changing habitat conditions, the migrations of plants and animals to new locations due to changes in temperature and precipitation, or health-related issues from excessive heat or flooding.
  • Biology, ecology, and environmental science classes could use this tool to predict the effects of climate change on various ecosystems, species, and cycles.
Scientist Notes

The resource offers climate predictions in regard to illnesses brought on by the heat in the US. GCMs are utilized for the projections. Teachers should be aware that projections from GCMs are less accurate when scaled down to the regional and local levels. Forecasts at the county level would probably see an increase in margin error. But this is only an estimate meant to aid in decision-making. It is advised to use this resource when instructing.

Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 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.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.1.9-12 Use geospatial and related technologies to create maps to display and explain the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Algebra: Reasoning with Equations & Inequalities (9-12)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSA.REI.D.10 Understand that the graph of an equation in two variables is the set of all its solutions plotted in the coordinate plane, often forming a curve (which could be a line).
    • Functions: Interpreting Functions (9-12)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSF.IF.B.4 For a function that models a relationship between two quantities, interpret key features of graphs and tables in terms of the quantities, and sketch graphs showing key features given a verbal description of the relationship. Key features include: intercepts; intervals where the function is increasing, decreasing, positive, or negative; relative maximums and minimums; symmetries; end behavior; and periodicity.
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