Module Overview

Is Earth’s temperature increasing and is the recent trend unusual compared to temperature trends in the past?

In this module, you will investigate the evidence to answer this question. First, you will review the causes of seasonal and daily temperature changes at different latitudes and locations. You will then analyze a variety of temperature data to compare temperature trends over different time periods (from decades to centuries) and over different spatial scales (from local to global). These investigations will help you answer whether the recent rise in Earth’s global mean temperature (GMT) is unusual.

When you complete this module, you will be able to

  • Explain how Earth’s tilt and orbit cause the seasons and the variation in temperature at different latitudes.
  • Differentiate between the factors that cause changes in temperature.
  • Explain the main factors, other than latitude, that cause variations in temperature at different locations.
  • Compare and contrast temporal (time-based) temperatures trends.
  • Compare and contrast spatial (geographic-based) temperatures trends.

You may also download the  18-page PDF  of this module.