Archive for the ‘Climate’ Category

Uploaded by markren

When teaching, it’s always interesting when you teach something that people know a lot about versus when it’s something relatively new.  Using some basic facts quickly reveals what you’re up against.

So if I asked the question, what has more ice the north or the south pole or which would create a largest sea level rise if it melt? 

Before I give you the answer, most people know a little more about the arctic and its polar bears because it’s closer and it gets more press.  The Antarctic is the fringe at the bottom of the globe.  Other than the recent penguin movies, it’s like another planet.  People might know more about Mars than the South Pole.  Besides we know where Santa lives.

Well the real answer is that if the Northern Ice melts sea levels rise just more than 25 feet.  If the Southern ice-melts sea levels rise 210 feet.  Why the difference?  Take a look at these basic facts.

  • Antarctica has almost 9% of the land area in the world

  • Antarctica is the 4th largest continent in the winter and the 5th largest in the summer

  • The Antarctic ice cap has 29 million cubic kilometers of ice. This is 90% of all the ice on the planet and between 60 and 70 % of all of the world’s fresh water.

  • Antarctica is considered a desert because it so cold the air can’t hold much moisture

  • The cold and dry conditions in the “Dry Valleys” region of Antarctica are so close to those on Mars that NASA did testing there for the Viking mission. It has not rained in the dry valleys for at least 2 million years.

  • At the thickest point, the ice is almost 2-1/2 miles deep

  • Antarctica has the lowest recorded temperature; -90°C at Vostock in 1983. Inland, temperatures range from -70°C in winter to -35°C in summer. Corresponding figures for coastal regions are -30°C and 0°C.

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Uploaded by chalkie_colour_circles

 In order for new learning to happen, you often have to clear out and challenge beliefs and preconceived notion.  One very interesting way to do this is a pre-test.  I found this one which is really good.  The trick here is to forgot about the topic but rather see how the simple test challenges your beliefs and that you may know this already. 

Ready…  Here it is.   http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/GlobWarmTest

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Science is good at a lot of things.  Predictions aren’t one of them.  It’s still hard to pick a winning horse at the track.  But this is just my observation so I did a little homework.  Here’s an interesting article about the quality of scientific predictions.  Try not to get caught up on what the prediction is about.  That’s not the point.  It’s about the ability to predict.  Also I’m not talking about the ability to predict what happens when you mix two chemicals.  I’m talking about predicting what will happen in a complex system like real life.

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A Track Footprint
originally uploaded by Jippolito.

I was working on a project at Disney several years back when I learned a design technique they used called footprints in the snow. What they would do is set the landscaping and then after a while, they’d come back and look at all the areas that were beaten down by foot traffic. That’s were people really want to walk.

So what they’d do is redo where all the paths were so that they matched where people wanted to walk. This is a different strategy than putting up fences or keep off the grass signs. I think it’s a good technique for a lot things. If people aren’t doing what you want, take a look at the footprints in the snow and make some changes.

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Originally uploaded by Triborough
I know this blog is about learning so here’s the point.  This isn’t a post about global warming or polution but how believes about things get in the way of learning something new.  I just read an article that shows the research behind the claim that a Hummer is better for the environment that a Prius.  Most of the environmental damage of a Prius happens during the manufacturing especially in the manufacture of the battery.  Here’s the article; http://www.katu.com/news/7561002.html

So if we didn’t have three feet of snow on the ground and it wasn’t freezing I’d say a bicycle is still a good bet.

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I found this to be both an interesting article and website.  I really haven’t read much Russian press before.  I’m going to let the article stand for itself with no comment.  I’ll leave that up to you.   A Cold Spell

 I have to amend this post.  This is getting to be too much.  It’s now snowing in Florida

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