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Authors

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), Nick Bradford

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Article
  • Video, 2 minutes, 40 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Video, 3 minutes, 53 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Data

Regional Focus

North America, United States

Droughts, Floods, and Water Vapor - Oh My!

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  • This article explains how warmer air in the atmosphere can hold more water vapor, causing droughts in some areas and more extreme precipitation in other areas.
  • The resource includes several maps showing the future of precipitation changes in the United States as well as two NASA videos on the future of worsening droughts in the American West and projected changes in precipitation and temperature for the next century.

Positives 

  • This article explains how rising greenhouse gas emissions will impact the water cycle by causing droughts and floods and creating more warming in the atmosphere. 
  • The graphics and videos help to explain complicated topics. 

Prerequisites 

  • The link to the EPA's report is broken.
  • Students should have a basic understanding of climate change and the water cycle. 
  • Teachers may want to go over essential vocabulary words like amplify, intensify, greenhouse gases, emissions, accelerated, mitigation, reference, and gaseous.

Differentiation

  • Students could research the types of mitigation efforts that would help to keep global warming in the 3°C climate scenario range. 
  • Social studies classes could discuss how the United States and other countries should prepare for changes in precipitation. Students could think of ways that certain regions might update their infrastructure, make changes to the agricultural industry, or relocate communities to adapt to frequent droughts or floods.
  • Other resources on this topic include this interactive world map that shows how precipitation patterns could change, this text on water extremes, and this video on how climate change is causing hurricanes to become more extreme.
Datasets are cited, but using CS3C to model climate trends and simulate future projections up to 2100 is outdated. Rather CMIP5 or CMIP6 models which are capable of generating a set of standard simulations to enable quality predictions of future scenarios should have been used. The resource is however recommended for teaching. 

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.9 Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-4. Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
      • HS-ESS2-2. Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
      • HS-ESS2-5. Plan and conduct an investigation of the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes.
    • 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’s systems.
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