Education Outreach Program


Unit 7: How will climate change affect life?

In the words of the Essential Principles of Climate Literacy, "Life on Earth depends on, is shaped by, and affects climate." Organisms survive in specific ranges of climate, and if climate changes, the organisms adapt or migrate, otherwise they will perish. Human-induced climate change will alter conditions to which organisms are currently adapted.

ICEE 2010 WorkhsopLearning Objectives

  1. Identify ways that climate change is affecting composition of ecosystems and is predicted to increase species extinction rates. Example: polar aquatic communities.
  2. Understand predictions that climate change will affect human habitations, food supply, and disease incidence.

This unit relates most closely with Climate Literacy Principle 3, Climate Literacy Principle 3, Life on Earth depends on, is shaped by, and affects climate, and Climate Literacy Principle 7, Climate change will have consequences for the Earth system and human lives.

Also see Teaching About Principle 3 and Principle 7 from CLEAN.

Ecological Impacts

One way that learners can become "citizen scientists" is to focus on changing seasonal patterns and how they are being altered. Phenology ("the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate") is an important way to understand how changes in the length of seasons influence plants and animals.


Changes in Phenology: GLOBE activity

Red Orbit video with Project Budburst

Other Resources

Gary Randolph – GLOBE Program [PowerPoint]

"Listening to Colorado's Ecology" video

Human Impacts- Sea Level Rise

Dr. Steve Nerem is Associate Director of Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research (CCAR at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is an expert on using satellite data to measure sea level rise.

ICEE: Human Impacts- Sea Level Rise from CIRES Education & Outreach on Vimeo.


Steve Nerem –Presentation

Other Resources
CReSIS Sea Level Interactive

Global Warming Art Sea Level Interactive