Arctic sea ice and climate change

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This resource from the European Space Agency climate change resource pack provides background information on the role of Arctic sea ice upon the Earth’s climate system. All activities are set in the context of the Northwest Passage. Changes in the amount of sea ice can disrupt normal ocean circulation, leading to significant changes in global climate making it an important indicator.

The first activity is a mathematical investigation calculating the rate at which the ice is currently melting which illustrates the phenomenon known as Arctic amplification. This is illustrated via a series of worked examples as well as student worksheets. The second practical based activity allows students to model the melting process using smartphones and coloured ice cubes, due to the difficulties in being able to measure and predict effects in a real life situation.  Finally, long term trends in sea ice extent and sea surface temperatures can be explored and analysed using actual satellite data from the 'Climate from Space' web application.

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