Climate Change Lesson 5: Climate Forcing and Uncertainty

Students identify the factors which can influence climate change and identify reasons for uncertainty.

Students will answer these essential questions: What are the major factors which can influence climate change? Why is making climate prediction so hard?

Subject/Target Grade

Science and Social Studies/ Middle School and High School


One 45-50 minute period


From MEECS Climate Change Resource DVD

• Climate Forcings and Uncertainty (PowerPoint) 

Download: Climate_Forcing_and_Uncertainty_PowerPoint_miLoobJ.pptx

per class

• Changes in Earth’s Energy Balance (answer key) 

Download: Changes_in_the_Earths_Energy_Balance_Answer_Key_txH5oCX.pdf

• Feedback Cycles (transparency master) 

Download: Feedback_Cycles_Transparency_Master_J5KYaRU.pdf

per student

• Radiative Forcing (student resource) 

Download: Radiative_Forcing_watts_per_square_metre_Student_Resource_cBjrtJ3.pdf

• Changes in Earth’s Energy Balance (student resource) 

Download: Changes_in_the_Earths_Energy_Balance_Student_Resource_q8bI5Tq.pdf

• Changes in Earth’s Energy Balance (student activity) 

Download: Changes_in_the_Earths_Energy_Balance_Student_Activity_zQCgtHL.pdf

Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations

Grade 6-7 Science:

• Describe the origins of pollution in the atmosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere (car exhaust, industrial emissions, acid rain, and natural sources) and how pollution impacts habitats, climatic change, threatens or endangers species. E.ES.07.42

HS Earth Science:

• Analyze the empirical relationship between the emissions of carbon dioxide, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and the average global temperature over the past 150 years. E5.4C

HS Biology:

• List the possible causes and consequences of global warming. B3.4e

Climate Literacy Principles

• #4. Climate varies over space and time through both natural and manmade processes.

• #5. Our understanding of the climate system is improved through observations, theoretical studies, and modeling.

• #6. Human activities are impacting the climate system.

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