Education Outreach Program


ICEE 101

Overview: What will I learn by participating in ICEE?

The learning objectives, videos and activities included in the ICEE 101 website were used for the ICEE workshop held in Boulder, Colorado in June, 2010. New online modules are being developed, which will be available at In the meantime, please make use of these materials which provide an overview of the ICEE professional development for teachers around climate science and solutions.

We also invited you to be part of our community of teachers, scientists, and climate experts at the ICEE community forum.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand that ICEE participation will yield knowledge of climate, climate change, and how to teach about it.
  2. ICEE 2010 Summer WorkshopAppreciate the need for education about climate change, and be aware of the challenges.
  3. Become familiar with the Essential Principles of Climate Sciences as a conceptual framework for teaching about climate.

ICEE online course overview

1How Scientists Know

How Do Climate Scientists Know What They Know?

Through observations, such as satellite monitoring, as well as theoretical studies and modeling, scientists have gained a solid understanding of the climate system.  Several leading climate scientists share their insights into the scientific research process.

2Energy Balance

What Drives the Earth's Temperature?

Over 150 years ago, scientists understood the basics of the Earth's energy balance: incoming energy from the Sun has to balance with outgoing heat from the Earth after it had been warmed.  But scientist John Tyndall calculated the planet should be significantly colder than it is, leading him to look into whether the outgoing heat was being trapped by certain gases.  This led to our understanding of what is now called the "greenhouse effect."

3Human Impacts

How Can We Be Certain Human Activities Cause Climate Change?

For more than a century, scientists have predicted that human activities could amplify the natural greenhouse effect, causing the Earth's atmosphere to warm.  Now it is clear from multiple lines of evidence that this is the case.

4Complex Interactions

How Are Earth's Spheres and Climate Interrelated?

Climate is complex and the causes and effects driving climate processes are not always linear.  What are some of the important feedback loops, tipping points, and other dynamics that are important to be aware of in terms of climate processes?

ICEE 2010 Workshop5Climate Variability

Why Do Climates Vary, Regionally and Over Time?

Weather occurs on short time scales, over minutes, hours, and days.  Climate processes vary over longer time scales, ranging from seasonal variations to millennia.  LIkewise, climate can vary from local scales, such as the microclimate around a building or geographic feature, to broad regions, continents, and ultimately the planet itself.

6Local Impacts

What Is Predicted to Happen Where I Live?

Upon learning about climate change, the natural question that students ask is "What will happen where I live?"  While forecasts are difficult on a regional scale, closely observing and understanding existing climate conditions in a region is important in order to help identify impacts that may be happening now or in the future.

7Ecosystem Impacts

How Will Climate Change Affect Life?

The ecosystems that sustain us are already strained by a variety of human impacts. What types of changes are now being observed and are likelyto be observed in the future?

8Mitigation & Adaptation

What Can We Do?

Preparing for climate impacts requires changes in policy, behavior, and society.  Minimizing future impacts by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for anticipated changes is the challenge of our time. While there is no one solution, there are many solutions that help to make a difference.