Educational resources about clouds, weather, climate, and modeling from the Windows to the Universe program and the Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Susan Foster, UCAR, Boulder, CO; and R. M. Johnson, D. A. Randall, A. S. Denning, L. Gardiner, B. Hatheway, J. Genyuk, and R. Russell

The representation of cloud processes in climate models continues to be one of the most important challenges in studying climate change. Now in its fourth year, the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes (CMMAP) at Colorado State University is addressing this problem through a revolutionary new approach to representing cloud processes using multiple spatial and temporal scales. Through its partnership with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Windows to the Universe (W2U) program, CMMAP is helping to bring basic information about the atmosphere, clouds, weather, climate, and modeling to English and Spanish speaking audiences of all ages. These resources are available at no cost through W2U's web pages and teacher professional development workshops. W2U also builds bridges between the sciences, the arts, and literacy as it develops educational information about the Earth and space sciences.

This presentation will feature W2U's extensive new content about atmospheric optics, hurricanes and climate, and climate modeling. Collections of annotated photographs are available in image galleries and albums appropriate for classroom use. New science standards-aligned classroom activities explore the urban heat island effect, the link between hurricane intensity and sea surface temperature, rising sea level, and the choices for energy efficiency that can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from our homes. An interactive virtual, instrumented balloon launch experiment and a very simple climate model enable students to derive and analyze data leading to understanding the atmosphere's structure and the long term impacts of green house gas emissions. UCAR, W2U, and CMMAP receive support from the National Science Foundation.