IPCC 2021 – Changing Climate Zones

According to the IPCC report for Policymakers “Changes in the land biosphere since 1970 are consistent with global warming: climate zones have shifted poleward in both hemispheres, and the growing season has on average lengthened by up to two days per decade since the 1950s North of the Tropic of Cancer1

  1. Complete the table below on the positives and negatives of the changes described above
table

Summary of changes to the Biosphere from the report2

  • Warming contributed to an overall spring advancement in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • There are increases in the length of the thermal growing season over much of the land surface since at least the mid-20th century. The thermal growing season is the length of time in a calendar year when temperatures are warm enough for agricultural activity.
  • Over the Northern Hemisphere as a whole, an increase of about 2.0 days per decade is evident for 1951–2018 with slightly larger increases north of 45°N.
  • Over North America, a rise of about 1.3 days per decade is apparent in the United States for 1900–2014 with larger increases after 1980.
  • Growing season length in China increased by at least 1.0 days per decade since 1960 .
  • Peak bloom dates for cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Japan have occurred progressively earlier in the growing season in recent decades. In 2021, peak bloom was reached on 26 March, the earliest since the Japan Meteorological Agency started collecting the data in 1953 and 10 days ahead of the 30-year average.3
  • Grape harvest dates in Beaune, France have also been earlier. Using harvest data for Beaune stretching back nearly 700 years it has been noted that from 1354 to 1987, grapes were on average picked from 28 September whereas during the last 31-year-long period of rapid warming from 1988 to 2018, harvests began 13 days earlier.4

2. Map the changes listed above on the appropriate regions on the world map below:

world map

Source – https://equal-earth.com/   

Changes in dates for various plants, crops and regions

IPCC AR6 phenology data

Image source: Adjusted from IPCC 1

  1. Add straight lines of best fit to each graph.
  2. What has happened to the date of the grape harvest in France? Use data to describe the change.
  3. Which graph shows the greatest change?
  4. Which graph shows the smallest change?
  5. How might these changes affect insect, bird and land animals? You could research these and consider migration, harvesting, hibernation and flowering times.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  6. How might these changes affect farmers and food supply?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

The change in growing season in the USA

Study the graph5 below:

USA growing season
  1. Complete the table below using information from the graph. Use the nearest WHOLE NUMBER available.
IPCC extreme weather table
  1. Explain which location has the greatest change in its growing season. Use data from the table above in your response.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  2. Make a list of advantages that this shift in growing season will bring to the USA.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
  • Sources:
    1. IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M.I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T.K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu, and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press. P.7. Accessed 28th November 2021 at Sixth Assessment Report (ipcc.ch)
    2. IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M.I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T.K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu, and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press. P.517. Accessed 28th November 2021 at Sixth Assessment Report (ipcc.ch)
    3. Associated Press (author unknown), 2021. Climate crisis ‘likely cause’ of early cherry blossom in Japan. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/30/climate-crisis-likely-cause-of-early-cherry-blossom-in-japan [Accessed 28 November 2021]
    4. Mercer, C., 2021. Burgundy harvests getting earlier as vineyards heat up, says study – Decanter. [online] Decanter. Available at: https://www.decanter.com/wine-news/burgundy-harvests-earlier-study-423807/ [Accessed 28 November 2021].
    5. US EPA. 2021. Climate Change Indicators: Length of Growing Season | US EPA. [online] Available at: https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indicators-length-growing-season [Accessed 28 November 2021].
Climate Change Quality Mark Content

Using Tree Rings for Past Weather and Climate

Using tree rings to teach weather, climate, past climate change, proxy climate records, correlation, photosynthesis, regression, the carbon cycle, isotopes and more

close up of tree rings

On the BBC news: the research from Swansea University that supports these resources.

1) Show the Film

2) Play the Game

Trees can tell stories about past climates. Scientists can decode the pattern of a tree’s growth rings to learn which years were warm or cool, and which were wet or dry. Scientists combine the ring patterns in living trees with wood from trees that lived long ago, such as the wood found in old logs, wooden furniture, buildings like log cabins, and wooden ships, in order to build a longer historical record of climate than the lifespan of a single tree can provide.

You can decode tree ring data to learn about past climates using the simulation above. Line up tree ring patterns to reveal temperatures in the past. The simulation has two versions. The standard version is the best place to start. The custom version for schools in the United Kingdom was created to go along with a specific curriculum. It has a longer timeline and includes information about some historical events.

The process scientists use to build a climate history timeline has an extra step that, for the sake of simplicity, is not represented in this simulation. When scientists decode long climate records from tree ring patterns, they don’t physically line up the tree core samples next to each other. Instead, they make graphs called skeleton plots for each sample. They combine the skeleton plots from many samples to build a climate history timeline.

Data source for this simulation
The tree ring data in this simulation is from oak trees in southern England. The data, from the UK Oak Project, was collected from living trees, logs in bogs, beams and rafters in old buildings, old wooden furniture, and wall paintings in a farmhouse dating back to 1592. One sample came from the windlass – the wooden crank used to raise and lower a castle’s gate – of the Byward Tower in the Tower of London.

Collect tree ring samples, align the samples to create a 300 year record and see what weather and climate events emerge here.

Alternatively, use the simple paper-strip version from UCAR.

3) Choose the Relevant Teaching Resource

ResourceSubjectSuggested age range
The Difference between Weather and Climate Teachers’ notes and Worksheet.Geography11-14 (KS3)
The impact of volcanoes on climate Teachers’ notes and Worksheet.Geography11-14 (KS3)
Weather detective – the weather of 1826 Teachers’ notes and Worksheet.Geography11-14 (KS3)
Past Climate Change Teachers’ notes and Worksheet.Geography11-14 (KS3)
Correlating Tree Rings and Temperature Notes for Teachers and worksheets A , B, C, D and E and/ or spreadsheets A , B, C, D and EGeography11-16 (KS3/4)
Solar, Volcanic and Anthropogenic Climate Change Teachers’ notes and WorksheetGeography14-16 (KS4)
The Factors Affecting Photosynthesis Teachers’ notes and WorksheetBiology11-14 (KS3)