Penn State NASA

Goals and Learning Outcomes


Goals and Learning Outcomes


On completing this module, students are expected to be able to:

  • describe climate trends from recent changes in temperature, atmospheric water content and glacier length and mass;
  • explain the difference between weather, climate and the importance of time scales when looking at climate data;
  • infer temperature trends from instrumental and borehole data.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this module, students should be able to answer the following questions:

  • How was climate related to the rise and fall of the Mayans?
  • What were the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age?
  • What is the difference between weather and climate?
  • How are global temperatures calculated?
  • Where is the “blade” of the Hockey Stick and what is the change in global temperature since then?
  • What is El Niño-Southern Oscillation and how does it impact global climate?
  • How do volcanic eruptions impact global temperatures?
  • In what latitudes has temperature increased most since 1880?
  • How do boreholes reflect temperature change?
  • How and why do ocean temperatures change differently from air temperatures?
  • How has the water content of the atmosphere changed in the last 40 years and why?
  • How has global precipitation changed over the last few decades?
  • How has the frequency and intensity of large storms changed recently?
  • Where in the US has drought increased since 1950?
  • How are changes in ice sheet area determined?
  • How has the volume of ice on glaciers changed recently?
  • How has Arctic sea ice changed recently?