NOAA logo
Earth's Climate History: How do we know what we know? What DO we know? Why does past climate matter to us today

This Web Seminar took place on September 20, 2011 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Presenting was Dr. Carole Mandryk, research Fellow with the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University and Dr. Russanne Low Lead Earth Science Higher Education Workgroup, NASA Education and Public Outreach Forum through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies. In this program, the two presenters talked about the evidence of climate change and how information about the past helps us to determine the rate and influence on today’s changing climate conditions.

The PowerPoint, related resources from the NSTA Learning Center, and web links from the presentation are now contained in the above resource collection. Clicking on the collection link will place it in your Learning Center, My Library, neatly organized under the My Resource Collections tab.

The second of the NOAA web seminar series for the 2011-2012 academic year, started with a review of the Earth’s climate and then a discussion of how we know about the climate of the past. The presenters talked about such things as ice cores, measurements over time and proxy data. They spent the bulk of the time talking about and defining proxy data, in particular pollen grains and how these tiny particles can be used to discover information about the climate of the past.

Fifty-two (52) participants were present at the live Web Seminar in addition to the presenter and NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. In addition, three participants joined the presentation from locations outside of the United States: Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Turkey.

Seminar participants received one of the NSTA SciGuides. A certificate of attendance was deposited into participants My PD Record and Certificates area in the NSTA Learning Center for completing the evaluation form at the end of the program.

Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:

  • “As a pre-service teacher I can use the information that I learned when I have a classroom of my own. I will be able to explain to my students about climate and how we know that it is changing.”
  • “I enjoyed the number of examples and how simple the presenters made everything. I specifically enjoyed the explanation of proxy data.”
  • “Very valuable for explaining climate change and the affects on evolution and plant diversity.”
  • “This will really help me to help my students understand how we know about climate change. They have so many questions, and I got good information and activity ideas.”

Thanks to the participants and the presenter for the learning opportunity, the interactions, and a job well done!

To see more programs on Climate Change visit:

For more information contact

NOAA logo
Sponsored by NOAA