Exploration 1

A Comparison of Land and Ocean Temperature Anomalies

You have learned that temperature has fluctuated several times over Earth’s history. In this exploration, you will investigate if the temperature change of Earth’s ocean is different from the temperature change on land.

***To print this exploration and record your responses, download this PDF document  .***

Once you have finished Exploration 1, read the Scientists'Explanation for A Comparison of Land and Ocean Temperature Anomalies.

Temperature Anomaly Data for 1880-2010: Land and Ocean Temperature

 

Use the interactive, time series graphing tool above to answer the following questions.
  1. Make a few hypotheses before you begin to compare the 130-year land and ocean temperature anomalies.
    1. Do you think land and ocean temperature anomalies will both show a warming trend?
      _____ Yes _____ No
    2. Do you think that the more recent decades will show an increased rate of warming for both land and ocean?
      _____ Yes _____ No
    3. Which do you think will have a greater range between high and low temperature anomalies?
      _____ Land _____ Ocean
    4. Which do you think has more variable temperature anomalies over time?
      _____ Land _____ Ocean
  2. To analyze the land temperature anomaly variation, check the Global box beneath the graph to uncheck the global data. Check the box next to Land. You should see the land temperature anomaly data displayed on the graph.
    1. Describe the general temperature anomaly trend over this time period.
    2. What is the lowest temperature anomaly recorded during that time period? What is the highest? What is the range of temperature anomalies (lowest to highest)?
  3. To analyze ocean temperature anomaly variation, click on the Land box beneath the graph to uncheck it. Check the Ocean box. You should see the ocean temperature anomaly data displayed on the graph.
    1. Describe the general temperature anomaly trend over this time period.
    2. What is the lowest temperature anomaly recorded during that time period? What is the highest? What is the range of temperature anomalies (lowest to highest)?
  4. Use the data you recorded in questions 1-3 to complete the table below.
    Geographic
    Area
    Lowest Temperature
    Anomaly (°C)
    Highest Temperature
    Anomaly (°C)
    Range (°C)
    Lowest to Highest
    Temperature Anomaly
    Land      
    Ocean      
    Which area has the smallest range in temperature variation? Which has the largest? Explain why you think this difference occurred.
  5. Now check the Land box again. You should see temperature anomaly data for both land and ocean. Zoom into the graph for the last 25 years (1985-2010) by moving the slider below the graph. Describe the general temperature anomaly trend over this time period. Download Data