Weather To Climate Learning Sequence


Explore the concepts of weather and climate using local weather data and global climate data.


The goal of this sequence is to provide students with a bridge between the study of weather and the study of climate and global climate change that is grounded in students' experience and environment.  The Weather to Climate Learning Progression begins with an exploration of a long-term local weather dataset from Daymet, which provides daily climatological data from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center (ORNL DAAC). Depending on the level of inquiry, students explore provided datasets or download and prepare their own. They are then able to use Climate Change Visualization Tools to compare their local findings with future climate predictions at this location, and climate patterns across the globe.

Part 1 Find and explore local weather data using Excel (or a similar spreadsheet tool).

Part 2. Use the Climate Change Visualization Tools on the Student Climate Data website to compare and contrast historical/current data with future predictions, and local data with global data.

Background Resources:

**Climate Change: How do we know?
To What Degree? video series
Short, engaging videos that describe the science behind climate change

NASA's Global Change Evidence
Overview of the evidence for a changing climate.

** What does a change in global temperature mean?
Students are often underwhelmed by the degree of temperature change predicted to occur in the next 100 years.  To help them understand, here are some bullet points from the EPA's Climate Change FAQs.

"Changing the average global temperature by even a degree or two can lead to serious consequences around the globe. For about every 2°F of warming [only 1°C!] we can expect to see:

Global average temperatures have increased more than 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 100 years. Many of the extreme precipitation and heat events that we have seen in recent years are consistent with what we would expect given this amount of warming. Scientists project that the Earth's average temperatures will rise between 2 and 12 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100."