Category Archives: climate change

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“Teaching the Future” Marks a Successful Conclusion for Implementing Climate Change Education in Schools

report-imageAfter two transformative years, the ambitious “Teaching the Future” project is drawing to a close, leaving behind an indelible mark on climate change education. Launched with the vision to integrate climate education into school curricula, this project has far exceeded its initial goals, fundamentally reshaping how climate change is taught in classrooms. Explore the pedagogical report on climate education

At the heart of its success are the innovative resources and methodologies developed for educators and providing access to authentic climate data in dashboards of histoical temperature and precipitation and future forecasts of the predicted temperatures across the globe. These resources demonstrate the warming climate. Visit the digital climate data dashboards

dashboard global predicted temperatureRecognizing the multidisciplinary nature of climate change, “Teach the Future” has crafted a diverse array of teaching materials. These range from interactive games that engage students in environmental stewardship, to comprehensive lesson plans that weave climate awareness into subjects like science, geography, and even literature.  Find out more about the project results

Understanding that change begins with educators, the project has placed significant emphasis on teacher training to effectively communicate the complexities of climate change. Visit the onlione teacher training course

The project’s legacy includes a network of informed and enthusiastic educators, ready to inspire a new generation of environmentally conscious students. training modules image

Looking ahead, the success of “Teach the Future” serves as a blueprint for future educational initiatives.

Since the focus of the project is equipping educators and students with new skills, it is demonstrated that with the right tools and commitment, schools can play a pivotal role in shaping a more sustainable future. Visit the teacher stories from the project

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Teachers meet to pilot Teaching the Future course on climate education

The Teaching the Future project organised a teacher training workshop for partners in Athens at project partner Doukas School. The purpose was to meet with teachers in order to trial and pilot the open access online course on climate education created by the project.teachers photo

The course consists of four training modules:
– Climate – addressing the Challenge
– Methodologies for Powerful Learning
– Encouraging students’ engagement to local issues
– Data, tools and resources

The first module explored during the training was Data, tools and resources module. It is devoted to accessing and using a digital data dashboard through a GeoInquiry activity.

Other tools and resources that bring scientific information into the classroom are also introduced.dashboard minumum temperatures Europe

The purpose of the Data, tools and resources module is to encourage pupils to access and use climate data to investigate the data collected by climate scientists. It encourages research of the climatic conditions in local areas by presenting global and European climate data visualised the form of a data dashboard.

The dashboards visualise historical data sets of temperature and precipitation. This is done by aggregating thirty years of data to establish mean conditions.  It shows clearly temperatures have been warming, but the effect varies in different locations.

The dashboard allows users to select data elements, zoom in to different locations anddashboard global predicted temperature present information at local regional, national and global scales.

It computes average temperatures and precipitation rates for the locations on the maps.

One dashboard also offers predictions of future temperature patterns across the world until 2100.

Access the data dashboards.

Visit the training module on Data, tools and resources .

 

 

 

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Bringing resources, tools and training for climate education

report imageThe Teaching the Future project is set in the context of the EU Green Deal and the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

Teaching The Future is based on the need to tackle the climate emergency and ecological crisis.

Curriculum opportunities and relevant teaching approaches have been evaluated through a research report. Pedagogies for active citizenship are encouraged including dealing with climate data and citizen science approaches that can be used in response to local issues. Download the report

Teaching The Future establishes access to tools and resources that makes scientific data-based resources on climate change education available for schools.

dashboard minumum temperatures EuropeTeaching the Future provides access to climate information through data dashboards and a resource toolkit. This provides access to reliable climate change data for use in schools by teachers of different subjects.

The project offers open access online teacher training for teachers to help young people to be informed and empowered to address the urgency of their future, understanding the background and science behind climate change.

The project has developed an online training course for teachers giving access to scientific data and reducing the likelihood of misinformation.training modules image

The training course encourages teachers to create opportunities for the critical assessment of information reliability and establish and use innovative approaches to teaching and learning about climate in curriculum areas.

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Climate data dashboard and resources update

dashboard imageBased on feedback received from the education Community and our review of climate education research, we have made substantial additions and improvements to the Teaching the Future climate data dashboards created as part of the Teaching the Future Erasmus Plus project – available at: https://teachingthefuture.eu/climate-dashboards/

The data sets now include European data from Copernicus, providing climate data at a much higher resolution than the global IPCC data.

The dashboards now provide data on both temperature and precipitation information – you only need to zoom in to Europe for the data to show.

We created a gallery of teacher-verified education resources for you to explore and use (https://www.eurogeography.eu/projects/geodem/gallery-of-resources-2/).dashboard minumum temperatures Europe

The resources include data and visualisations, multimedia tools and resources and climate education projects.

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35 Years Of Climate Change Predictions

35 years since the first climate change predictions – were they alarmist?

prediction graphSince the 19th century, researchers have been warning about the global repercussions of human actions. James Hansen’s research group at  was the first to confirm that the increase in greenhouse gas emissions was altering the planet’s climate.

In their scientific article, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, they outlined how they developed the first predictive climate model that, taking into account greenhouse gas emissions, warned about the climate change that was already underway and the potential future scenarios.

At the time, this prediction was considered catastrophic and faced criticism from various sectors, including the oil industry, one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gasses emissions worldwide.

Were the early climate predictions really that inaccurate?

Critics of anthropogenic climate change often claim that climate predictions are consistently wrong and are frequently updated to downplay the issue. However, this perspective is misleading. prediction diagram

Climate predictions are indeed updated and refined as new data becomes available, reducing inherent uncertainties in modelling a complex, chaotic system like the climate. However, this doesn’t mean earlier predictions were wrong. They were made with less computing power, lower-quality data, and greater uncertainty about future emissions.

The key point is that climate responds differently to various emission scenarios, and predicting human behaviour regarding emissions is just as critical as forecasting climate responses.

In 1988, Hansen’s team analysed global average temperature data from 1958 to 1987 and developed three prediction scenarios—A, B, and C—projecting climate trends up to 2060.

Scenario A assumed a continuous increase in greenhouse gas emissions, extending the growth pattern seen in the 1970s and 1980s indefinitely, with an annual increase of 1.5%. This scenario predicted rapid and substantial climate change, with a temperature increase of 0.9°C above the 1951-1980 average by 2000, 1.5°C by 2020, 3°C by 2040, and up to 4°C by 2060.

Scenario B anticipated a more gradual stabilization in emissions, resulting in a slower but still consistent temperature rise. It predicted a 0.5°C temperature increase by 2000 and 1.2°C by 2020. Predictions for scenario B extended until 2028, reaching nearly 1.4°C of temperature increase, as uncertainties grew significantly beyond that year.

Scenario C resembled scenario B initially but assumed a drastic reduction in emissions between 1990 and 2000, eventually stabilizing around 2010 and fluctuating between 0.6°C and 0.8°C of temperature increase.

You can explore climate predictions for these scenarios for your location using the Teaching the Future Data Dashboard.

Reviewing Hansen’s Model

predictions graphTo determine whether Hansen’s initial model was accurate or not, it’s insufficient to examine the predictions in isolation, as the three scenarios presented diverse outcomes. The key is to assess whether, based on actual greenhouse gas emissions in recent decades, the consequences align with Hansen’s predictions rather than deviating in unforeseen ways.

In 2020, researcher Zeke Hausfather from the University of California, Berkeley, along with collaborators, revaluated Hansen’s model. First, they analysed real observed data and they found that it closely resembled the predictions of scenario B, although with some irregularities. Recognizing variable emissions over the past three decades, researchers incorporated actual emissions data into Hansen’s climate model, resulting in remarkably accurate predictions. NASA global warming maps

Similar situations apply to subsequent models, not because they fail but because climate predictions depend on unpredictable global emissions. This leads to various scenarios, from extreme to intermediate, reflecting uncertain human behaviour. When emissions deviate from assumptions, climate outcomes also change, not due to model flaws but unpredictable human actions. Regular model updates use better data and computing power to adapt to changing circumstances, eliminating unfulfilled scenarios and projecting new ones.

Source: https://www.muyinteresante.es/naturaleza/61198.html

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Climate Activists Take Countries to Court

Young Portuguese Climate Activists Take 32 Countries to Court Over Inadequate Climate Action

This month six young individuals from Portugal are taking legal action against 32 countries through the European Court of Human Rights.

They accuse these nations of failing to adequately address the urgent issue of climate change. The basis of their argument lies in the assertion that the climate crisis directly violates several fundamental rights safeguarded by the European Convention on Human Rights. activists-photo

These rights include the right to life, the right to privacy, protection from inhumane or degrading treatment, and the right not to be subjected to discrimination.

The origins of this case can be traced back to a devastating wildfire that ravaged Portugal in 2017, resulting in a significant loss of life. However, the lawsuit goes beyond this particular event, highlighting the broader and ongoing consequences of climate change, which are already affecting people’s lives in numerous ways.

The accused countries encompass all the members of the European Union, along with Norway, Russia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Turkey. The sheer scale of this legal battle is unprecedented and is being closely watched by legal experts and environmental activists alike.

The countries facing these allegations argue that the young plaintiffs cannot be considered unique victims of the climate crisis and question the extent of the harm experienced or anticipated by them. If the court rules in favour of the plaintiffs, it could set a crucial legal precedent linking climate change and human rights.court photo

Such a ruling might empower climate activists to seek legal remedies in their respective national courts, compelling their governments to take more substantial actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This legal case follows previous efforts by environmental organisations, including Greenpeace, to hold governments accountable for their commitments to combat climate change through legal channels, with outcomes that have varied. The European Court of Human Rights is expected to render a judgment on this case within a timeframe of nine to eighteen months.

Find out more about the case

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New research suggests signs of an ocean circulation collapse

A new study published in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that the Gulf Stream system, known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), could collapse as soon as 2025.AMOC diagram

AMOC plays a crucial role in carrying warm ocean water northwards, driving the Atlantic’s currents. However, increasing freshwater influx from melting ice caps, especially from Greenland, is disrupting these currents.

The consequences of an AMOC collapse would be catastrophic, affecting rainfall patterns in India, South America, and West Africa, increasing storms and lowering temperatures in Europe, raising sea levels on the eastern coast of North America, and endangering the Amazon rainforest and Antarctic ice sheets.

The AMOC ocean currents are currently at its weakest state in the last 1,600 years due to global heating, and warning signs of a tipping point were observed and reported on in 2021.

The research suggests the collapse could occur between 2025 and 2095, with an estimated central point of 2050 if global carbon emissions are not reduced.

The study utilised sea surface temperature data to estimate the timing of the tipping point based on a type of tipping point called a “saddle-node bifurcation.”

Some scientists have expressed concerns about uncertainties in data and assumptions about tipping points, they agree that the potential collapse of AMOC should urge rapid cuts in carbon emissions.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) most recent assessment concluded that AMOC would not collapse this century, but researchers argue that their models may be overly conservative.

The new study emphasises the need for further research and a collective effort to address the risks associated with AMOC collapse.

Find out more about AMOC and the risks it poses

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Coping with the Scorching Heatwave: How Communities Are Adapting

As the planet grapples with the escalating effects of climate change, extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense. Heatwaves, in particular, are posing a significant threat to human health, the environment, and daily life. These events have resulted in death tolls, with last summer’s heatwave killing more than 61,000 people across Europe. Heat-related illnesses, particularly among vulnerable populations, are escalating concerns. temperature map

Governments and communities worldwide are mobilising to combat the heatwave menace. Europe, in particular, is taking proactive measures. The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued guidance to support national and local authorities in preparing for extreme heat events. Various cities have implemented heat action plans, established cooling centres, and educated residents on the risks associated with heatwaves.

Spain and Greece have enforced bans on outdoor work during the hottest hours of the day, responding to previous fatalities caused by heat-related illnesses. France’s heat watch warning system, launched after a deadly heatwave in 2003, sets an example for public announcements urging people to stay hydrated during such events. Germany has followed France’s lead and launched a campaign to address heatwave deaths.

Innovative initiatives are emerging to tackle the extreme heat, especially in urban areas where heat island effects are most significant.

Barcelona, Spain, proposes painting rooftops white to reflect the sun’s rays. Meanwhile, London’s historic buildings are showing signs of damage due to prolonged drought and heat, calling for modernisation that considers extreme temperatures.

At the individual level, people are adopting lifestyle changes to minimise heatwave impact, such as staying hydrated, avoiding outdoor activities during peak heat hours, and using energy-efficient appliances.

heat island imageCommunities are embracing tree planting and green space creation to combat the urban heat island effect and provide much-needed shade and cooling. Additionally, the advocacy for clean energy sources and stringent climate policies is gaining momentum to address the long-term effects of heatwaves.

Despite the ongoing threat, the collective efforts of society offer hope for a more resilient and sustainable future. With continued proactive measures and heightened environmental consciousness, individuals and communities strive to adapt and thrive in the face of heatwaves, forging a path towards a cooler, healthier planet.

The Teaching the Future project team believes school education is essential in dealing with these issues. It has published a report that reviewed and analysed education initiatives to improve teaching about climate change and its impacts and will create a training course for teachers to introduce data-driven science into the classroom.

Download the full report

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Summer 2023 shows extreme weather effects from climate change

2023 has seen wildfires, heatwaves, and major floods. Meanwhile, ocean temperatures are increasing, with average surface temperatures reaching unprecedented levels for June and sea ice failing to regrow in the Antarctic.antarctic ice graph

Throughout July, extreme weather has caused havoc across the planet, with temperatures breaking records in China, the United States and southern Europe, sparking forest fires, water shortages and a rise in heat-related hospital admissions.

World Weather Attribution is an initiative where scientists attempt to quantify how climate change influences the intensity and likelihood of an extreme weather event. Their latest research suggests human-induced climate change has played clear role in the extreme heatwaves that have swept across North America, Europe and China in July 2023. 

El Nino has probably also contributed to the extreme heatwaves. El Nino is a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific, but rising greenhouse gases were the major factor, the scientists said, and heatwaves will become increasingly likely if emissions are not slashed.heatwave maps The July 2023 heatwaves would have been “virtually impossible without climate change”, said researchers who stressed that extreme weather events would occur with greater frequency if the world continues to warm. Find out more

IPCC climate predictions graphAccording to new research from Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, an impact of more than $122 billion on economic activity is anticipated, with a staggering $81 billion impact in international trade. Parts of northern Europe, the western United States, Southern Australia, the Middle East and West Africa are particularly expected to feel the effects to cross-border trade, mainly because of dependencies on East Asian ports.  Find out more

As part of its digital data dashboard developments, the Teaching the Future project has used UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) data to examine how future generations will experience the warming created by climate change. This data summarises advanced climate research from hundreds of leading scientists. It suggests the risks of warming are even greater than was thought at the time of the last assessment in 2014. The IPCC report has been signed off by governments worldwide, but a lack of political commitment was a major barrier to progress.

Graphics showing the IPCC global climate predictions can be freely downloaded from the IPCC Web site.

The UN secretary-general António Guterres had confirmed “The 1.5C limit is achievable. But it will take a quantum leap in climate action.”  “Our world needs climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, all at once,” he said, urging richer countries to significantly improve their net zero greenhouse gas emissions targets, and strive to achieve the goal by as close to 2040 as possible, rather than by 2050.

 

Climate games and simulations for education

The Teaching the Future project has identified different interesting visualisations that help present climate change issues and a created a gallery of innovative games and simulations related to climate change and teaching the future. games image

Recent research by Imperial College, London has shown that young people aged 16-24 are most likely to be particularly concerned about the impacts of climate change. This is partly because climate information is often hard to understand and follow, especially when suggested actions require changes in lifestyle.

study on climate change anxiety published in the Lancet found that children and young people demonstrated climate anxiety and widespread dissatisfaction with government responses in countries across the world. This is partly because because the climate crisis is so complex and lacks a clear solution. Education clearly has a role to play in dealing with this.

Games on the subject of climate change are well-suited to address the challenge of dealing with the complex issues involved, engaging people in the challenges involved.

Games can help communicate climate change in a manner that spurs involvement and motivates participants to take action. This is partly because many innovative design features of games can be integrated to blur the boundaries between reality and the virtual world.

The integration of game thinking and game mechanics in education has been described as gamification. One of the central advantages of gamification is the enjoyment created by making tasks more engaging, fun and interesting to complete. In turn, that increases people’s motivation to complete them.

Research carried out by Yee (2016) identified six different game elements that motivate gamers and encourage participation.

Action (e.g., objectives)
Social (e.g., competition)
Mastery (e.g., scoring)
Achievement (e.g., awards, rewards)
Immersion (e.g., role playing) and
Creativity (e.g., customisation)

It is important to realise therefore that games and game-based learning are valuable approaches to teaching the complexity of addressing climate change and part of the toolbox that educators can use to engage young people.

Visit the TTF gallery to try out the innovative simulations and games.