14. Changing UK Climate

Weather and Climate: a Teachers’ Guide

Pathway: Climate

Past Climate ChangeChanging Global ClimateUK Climate Changing UK climate

Lesson overview: In this lesson we use the Central England Temperature record to explore changing UK weather and look at the projected impacts of climate change on the UK.

The UK climate has always changed and in over recent decades has become warmer. Over the coming century it is projected to become warmer and wetter in winter and hotter and drier in summer. Although change is unlikely to be dramatic, its cumulative impact will be significant and will affect human populations, landscapes and the natural world.  Adaptation and mitigation can help to ameliorate some of the negative impacts of our changing climate, though some populations, landscapes and ecosystems could be severely affected if the most extreme forecasts are realised

Learning objectives:

  • To understand how climate (precipitation and temperature) has changed over time in the UK

  • To be able to classify the potential impacts of changing climate on the UK.

Key Teaching Resources

Changing UK Climate PowerPoint
Changing UK Climate PowerPoint (easier)
Changing UK Climate Worksheet
Changing UK Climate Worksheet (easier)
Changing UK Climate Homework
Changing UK Climate Futures Homework

Teacher CPD/ Extended Reading

Changing UK Climate_More for Teachers

Alternative or Extension Resources

How does climate change lead to changes in extreme weather?  (reference material)

Graphs showing past and future changes in UK climate. Associated teaching resources can be found on the RGS website

3D print the Central England Temperature record and use it in lessons. 

Weather and Climate: a Teachers’ Guide

12. Changing Global Climate

Weather and Climate: a Teachers’ Guide

Pathway: Climate

Past Climate ChangePolar Climate – Hot Deserts – Changing Global Climate

Lesson overview: In this lesson we look at this historical relationship between carbon dioxide and global temperature and the Greenhouse Effect before moving on to consider future greenhouse gas emission scenarios.  

Greenhouse gases warm the Earth through intercepting the flow of heat from the Earth into space. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has co-ordinated research that shows unequivocally that global climate has changed as a result of the impact of humans on the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and other aspects of the climate system and will continue to do so.  Neither the magnitude nor impacts of climate change will be uniformly felt around the world. As our understanding of predicted impacts continues to improve so does our ability to prepare for them.  Uncertainty stems from several sources – the response of governments, human populations, complex interactions and feedback effects between different components of the climate system. 

Learning objectives:

  • To be able to describe the major changes to temperature and CO2 over short and longer periods of time.

  • To be able to explain global warming and reasons why climate changes.

  • To evaluate what might happen to CO2 levels and temperature in the future.

Key Teaching Resources

Changing Global Climate PowerPoint
Changing Global Climate PowerPoint (easier)
Changing Global Climate Worksheet
Changing Global Climate Worksheet (easier)
Changing global climates homework

Teacher CPD/ Extended Reading

Changing Global Climate – More for Teachers

Alternative or Extension Resources

Changing climate: Climate stripes

Climate change graphs (basic)

Weather and Climate: a Teachers’ Guide

3D Print the Weather

The RMetS is delighted to have collaborated with CREATE Education to develop instructions to allow schools to 3D print sections of the Central England Temperature Record and use their models to learn about weather, climate, extreme weather and climate change.

These engaging, tactile resources allow students to get a hands-on experience of what climate is and how it can change, and how extreme weather relates to the climate.

The Central England Temperature (CET) data record is the longest instrument record of temperature in the world, with average monthly temperature each month from January 1659 to December 2018.

This project and the accompanying resources allow you to create 3D models that will represent 10 years of temperature data. The models have been designed to interlink, so students can create a series of models to represent larger timeframes. Once the 3D models have been created and 3D printed, there is a tactile resource that can be used in multiple ways in the classroom to visualise and study past weather and climate, and at how the climate of the UK has been changing over time.

The lesson resources specifically focus on

1. The difference between climate and weather

2. The current climate of the UK

3. The changing climate of the UK

4. Looking at past extreme weather events and researching their impacts on people in the UK.

3D model

Further resources to teach weather, climate, correlation, photosynthesis, regression, the carbon cycle, isotopes and more.

Further resources past climate change teaching resources for secondary geography.

6. Past Climate Change

Weather and Climate: a Teachers’ Guide

Pathway: Basic weather/ Climate 

 Weather and Climate – Atmospheric and Oceanic Circulation – Climate ZonesPast Climate Change 

Lesson overviewIn this lesson we look at how global temperatures have changed over the last 400,000 years and investigate volcanoes and the Milankovitch cycles as the drivers of change, in preparation for a more detailed look at anthropogenic climate change in later lessons. 

We know about the past climate of Earth from instrumental records and paleoclimatology in which we reconstruct global climate from proxy variables including air trapped in ice bubbles and preserved organic remains.  There are several major natural influences on the climate including the Milankovitch cycles, which describe the combined effect of changes to our planets orbit around the Sun, volcanic activity, the Sun and continental drift.  By understanding these, we are able to model past climates and improve our understanding of the Earth’s climate system.

Learning objectives:

  • To be able to describe the major changes to temperature over long periods of time.

  • To be able to explain why climate changes over time.

Key Teaching Resources

Past Climate Change PowerPoint
Past Climate Change PowerPoint (easier)
Past Climate Change Worksheet
Past Climate Change Worksheet (easier)
Little Ice Age Mystery Homework
Little Ice Age Mystery Homework (with key)
Little Ice Age Mystery (for Teachers)

Teacher CPD/ Extended Reading

Past Climate Change – More for Teachers

Alternative or Extension Resources

Mystery: Why do we expect a white Christmas?

Using tree rings to explore past weather and climate 

Past Climate Change Teaching Resources

Using Leaves as Thermometers

 

Weather and Climate: a Teachers’ Guide

Past Climate Teaching Resources

wordleThese resources explore the climate of five different scale periods of the past 2.6 million years. Within each, some of the basic processes affecting the climate are investigated. Please feel free to adapt the resources to the level and ability of the students you teach.

Module 1 – the last 2.6 million years: Milankovitch Cycles, Supervolcanoes

Module 2 – the last 11000 years: The Holocene

Module 3 – the last 2000 years: the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age

Module 4 – the last 500 years: Volcanoes

Module 5 – the last 200 years: the Sun, the Anthropocene and the Greenhouse Effect

Notes on the sources of data used.

Guide to sources of paleo-climate data.


Acknowledgements

These resources were jointly produced by Dr Kathryn Adamson (Manchester Metropolitan University), Dr. William Roberts (Bristol University), Dr. Chris Brierley (University College London) and the Royal Meteorological Society.

geographical association publishers awardThese resources were Highly Commended by the Geographical Association, who noted that they give teachers structured access to curriculum topics that are otherwise not readily found with up-to-date data from paleo-climate experts.

Past Climate Changes – Module 5

Past Climate Changes – Module 4

Past Climate Changes – Module 3

Module 3 – the last 2000 years

Core Resources

Climate graph, 1,500 years, without uncertainty

Climate graph, 1,500 years, with uncertainty

wordle

Past Climate Changes – Module 2

Module 2 – the last 11000 years (The Holocene)

Core Resources

Climate graph, 11,000 years, without uncertainty

graph

Climate graph, 11,000 years, with uncertainty

graph
wordle

Past Climate Changes – Module 1