Climate Change and the Arctic

Essential Questions

· How and why is the Arctic climate changing?

Enduring Understandings
· The temperature of earth is dependent on the balance (equilibrium) between incoming energy (sun’s radiation) and outgoing energy (reflected radiation and emitted infra red (heat) radiation). The earth’s atmosphere plays a huge role in moderating that equilibrium.

· The climate of the Arctic is significantly affected by:
· The intensity of sunlight reaching the surface,
· The different amounts of absorption of sunlight between ice and water and
· Changes in the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere.


In this unit we try to understand how the Arctic climate is affected by, and contributes to the overall balance of energy in the Earth system and consider the implications of significant climate change. This unit can be taught as an introduction to climate change on its own but it fits well as a follow up unit to the “Life in the Arctic” Unit, which introduces students to the Arctic ecosystem and the delicate interconnectedness of environmental conditions and animal and plant life cycles.

Climate change is a huge topic. This unit tries to focus on some of the key factors but there is much that is left out or just touched on that could become the basis of further study.

Please see the full lesson plans below:
Climate Change and the Arctic
Tracking Temperature Assessment
Albedo Effect