If These Rocks Could Talk: Earth’s Climate In The Deep Past

Presented by Dr. Mark Nielsen Science Education Fellow, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

The study of paleoclimate tells a fascinating story of deep Earth history and the varying conditions under which life on our planet has evolved. But another reason to study paleoclimate is to give context to current climate change and shed light into its potential severity and impact. For example, the carbonate-silicate weathering cycle consists of a series of chemical reactions in which carbon cycles between Earth and atmosphere. Because these reactions are temperature sensitive, they act as a natural thermostat, maintaining a relatively stable climate over millions of years. A close look at the cycle reveals how it is being affected by rapidly increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Because carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for an extremely long time, human emissions will continue to affect the planet’s climate for tens of thousands of years.

This talk will draw connections between Earth’s climate past and present and showcase classroom-ready resources for teaching about climate, available from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). HHMI is one of the nation’s largest philanthropies dedicated to supporting research and science education. The resources we develop are freely available from www.BioInteractive.org. They are designed to enhance science education from middle school through graduate school.

Venue name if any: 
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Ballroom A
Fee for participation: 
none, except registration for the NSTA Conference
San Antonio
Saturday, April 13, 2013 - 12:30pm

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