DataStreme ECS WEEK ONE: 9-13 September 2013







Concept of the Week: Touring the DataStreme Earth's Climate System Website

NOTE: This Concept for the Week is a repeat of that which appeared in last week's Weekly Climate News.

Welcome to DataStreme Earth's Climate System (ECS)! The Earth's Climate System website is an integral component of the DataStreme ECS (Earth's Climate System) course. The website is intended to deliver a wealth of climate information that is both pertinent to the course as well as being a reference site for you as you study Earth's climate system. The webpage is arranged in several sections. On Monday of each week of the course, we will post the current Weekly Climate News that includes Climate in the News (a summary listing of recent events related to climate), Concept of the Week (an in-depth analysis of some topic related to climate in the Earth system), and Historical Events (a list of past events important in the understanding of climatology). When appropriate, Supplemental Information...In Greater Depth will be provided on some topic related to the principal theme of the week.

You will use the DS Climate Studies website to access and download the "Current Climate Studies" that complement your Climate Studies Investigations Manual. These materials should also be available by noon (Eastern Time) on Monday. Click the appropriate links to download and print these electronic components of the investigations as well as your Chapter, Investigations and Current Climate Studies Response forms.

Beyond these course Learning Files, sections include Climate Information, Climate Variability, Climate Change, Societal Interactions and Climate Policy, and Extras. As the titles suggest, there are multiple uses for climate data and their interpretation. Here we explore some examples of the information provided in the various sections of the webpage.

The Climate Information section includes access to weather data, the raw material of climate synthesis, from the United States and the world under the heading "Observations and Data." Under this heading, click on "U.S. and World Weather Data." This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) page first directs you to "United States Weather" and provides channels to current weather data as well as radar graphics, weather maps, and aviation and marine weather. It then leads you to International Weather Conditions.

The second major subdivision of the course website encompasses Climate Variability. Climatic variability refers to the fluctuations and oscillations that may occur within the climate system at temporal and spatial scales beyond that of individual weather events. Select the link, "NOAA El Niño Page". The page that appears provides access to a wealth of background and information on El Niño and La Niña, including the animation showing sea surface temperatures (SST) in the tropical Pacific during recent months. To the left of the animation, click on "What's happening today?" The page of current tropical Pacific conditions that appears shows a small map to the right. Click on that map and again anywhere on the subsequent set of map panels to get an enlarged view of the latest conditions of SST and anomalies.

The third major section of the course website is termed Climate Change. Here we provide links to information and analyses that primarily focus on anthropogenic (human-made) change processes and results in the climate system. That prominently includes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's ("IPCC") latest classic report on atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions and their effects. Also linked are modeling results ("Models") based on those studies.

The last major section of the website is titled Societal Interactions and Climate Policy. This block contains information on the impacts of projected change on human societies around the world, beyond that listed in the IPCC report, and the international actions and debates regarding those issues. Select and click on "US Global Change Impacts Report" to the left in this section. This webpage introduces you to the latest comprehensive and authoritative report on climate change and its impacts in the United States, now and in the future. You will be directed to this report several times in this course.

Completing the course website is the Extras section of additional handy information for the course and individual study such as dictionaries of terms, maps and materials. Choose and examine one of the Climate Literacy links, either a PDF or the Word version. This document has recently been developed and released by NOAA to provide an overview of general concepts and information the general public and especially students should be aware of regarding the climate and the climate debate.

Concept of the Week: Questions

  1. The first Climate Information link, "NOAA Climate Services", shows the Global Climate Dashboard where several graphs display Earth's temperature, atmospheric carbon dioxide level, spring snow cover, etc. with a time slider than can be set to display from [(1800)(1880)(1940)] to the latest data in 2013.
  2. Under the Societal Interactions and Climate Policy section, click the "U.S. Global Change Research Program" link. Near the bottom of page are two selector bars that show the climate impacts in the report are categorized by [(only regional)(only sectoral)(both regional and sectoral)] climate information.

Historical Events

Return to DataStreme ECS Example Week website

Prepared by Edward J. Hopkins, Ph.D., email hopkins@meteor.wisc.edu
© Copyright, 2013, The American Meteorological Society.