2012 National Science Framework alignments to SESIS resources

Biogeochemical cycles (e.g., carbon cycle) Organisms ranging from bacteria to human beings are a major driver of the global carbon cycle, and they influence global climate by modifying the chemical makeup of the atmosphere.
Biogeochemical cycles (e.g., water cycle) and weather The complex patterns of the changes and the movement of water in the atmosphere, determined by winds, landforms, and ocean temperatures and currents, are major determinants of local weather patterns.
Climate Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere absorb and retain the energy radiated from land and ocean surfaces, thereby regulating Earth’s average surface temperature and keeping Earth habitable.
Climate change Provide evidence to explain how increases in Earth’s temperature can affect humans and other organisms. Examples of effects on humans and other organisms can include changes in crop growing seasons, changes in coral reefs, and loss of habitats.
Climate change If Earth’s global mean temperature continues to rise, the lives of humans and other organisms will be affected in many different ways.
Climate change Reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere can reduce the degree to which global temperatures will increase.
Climate change The geological record shows that changes to global and regional climate can be caused by interactions among changes in the sun’s energy output or Earth’s orbit, tectonic events, ocean circulation, volcanic activity, glaciers, vegetation, and human activities. These changes can occur on a variety of time scales from sudden (e.g., volcanic ash clouds) to intermediate (ice ages) to very long-term tectonic cycles.
Climate change Current models predict that, although future regional climate changes will be complex and varied, average global temperatures will continue to rise. The outcomes predicted by global climate models strongly depend on the amounts of human-generated greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere each year and by the ways in which these gases are absorbed by the ocean and biosphere. Hence the outcomes depend on human behaviors as well as on natural factors that involve complex feedbacks among Earth’s systems.
Energy in the Earth system Energy may take different forms (e.g. energy in fields, thermal energy, energy of motion). The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a designed or natural system.
Energy in the Earth system Cyclic changes in the shape of Earth’s orbit around the sun, together with changes in the orientation of the planet’s axis of rotation, have altered the intensity and distribution of sunlight falling on Earth.
Energy in the Earth system The total amount of energy and matter in closed systems is conserved. Changes of energy and matter in a system can be described in terms of energy and matter flows into, out of, and within that system. Energy cannot be created or destroyed—it only moves between one place and another place, between objects and/or fields, or between systems. Energy drives the cycling of matter within and between systems. In nuclear processes, atoms are not conserved, but the total number of protons plus neutrons is conserved.
Energy in the Earth system The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space. Climate change can occur when certain parts of these systems are altered.
Human impacts All human activity draws on natural resources and has both short and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative, for the health of people and the natural environment.
Human impacts Humans depend on Earth’s ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere for many different resources. Fresh water and biosphere resources are limited, and many are not renewable or replaceable over human lifetimes. These resources are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of weather-and climate-related processes.
Human impacts Humans have become one of the most significant agents of change in the near-surface Earth system. Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere.
Human impacts Moreover, anthropogenic changes (induced by human activity) in the environment—including habitat destruction, pollution, introduction of invasive species, overexploitation, and climate change—can disrupt an ecosystem.
Human impacts and climate change Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (“global warming”).
Ocean The ocean supports a variety of ecosystems and organisms, shapes landforms, and influences climate.
Scientific and engineering practices Science and engineering will be essential both to understanding the possible impacts of global climate change and to informing decisions about how to slow its rate and consequences–for humanity as well as for the rest of the planet.
Scientific practices Patterns in the natural and human designed world can be observed, used to describe phenomena, and used as evidence.
Scientific practices Generate and revise causal explanations given specific temperature and precipitation data sets at different geographic locations to answer questions about the interactions that influence weather. Factors that interact and influence weather should include sunlight, ocean, atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things.
Scientific practices Relationships can be classified as causal or correlational, and correlation does not necessarily imply causation. Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems. Phenomena may have more than one cause, and some cause and effect relationships in systems can only be described using probability.
Scientific practices Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable. Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible. Feedback (negative or positive) can stabilize or destabilize a system. Systems can be designed for greater or lesser stability.
Scientific practices Though the magnitudes of human impacts are greater than they have ever been, so too are human abilities to model, predict, and manage current and future impacts.
Scientific practices Students who demonstrate understanding of weather climate and impacts can analyze and interpret weather data to identify day-to-day variations as well as long-term patterns. Examples of weather data could include maps and forecasts. Students should address climate in terms of long term patterns.
Scientific practices and Earth systems Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be part of larger complex systems. Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes and outputs—and energy, matter, and information flows within systems. Models are limited in that they only represent certain aspects of the system under study.
Sustainability Humans depend on the living world for the resources and other benefits provided by biodiversity. But human activity is also having adverse impacts on biodiversity through overpopulation, overexploitation, habitat destruction, pollution, introduction of invasive species, and climate change. These problems have the potential to cause a major wave of biological extinctions—as many species or populations of a given species, unable to survive in changed environments, die out—and the effects may be harmful to humans and other living things. Thus sustaining biodiversity so that ecosystem functioning and productivity are maintained is essential to supporting and enhancing life on Earth. Sustaining biodiversity also aids humanity by preserving landscapes of recreational or inspirational value.
Technology The uses of technology (for example, remote-sensing satellites and geographical information systems) and any limitations on their use are driven by individual or societal needs, desires, and values; by the findings of scientific research; and by differences in such factors as climate, natural resources, and economic conditions.
Weather Observe, record, and share findings of local weather over a period of time.
Weather Winds and clouds in the atmosphere interact with landforms to determine patterns of weather.
Weather and climate Weather is the combination of sunlight, wind, snow or rain, and temperature in a particular region at a particular time. People measure these conditions to describe and record the weather and to notice patterns over time.
Weather and climate Weather is the minute-by-minute to day-by-day variation of the atmosphere's condition on a local scale. Scientists record patterns of the weather across different times and areas so that they can make predictions about what kind of weather might happen next. Climate describes a range of an area's typical weather conditions and the extent to which those conditions vary over years to centuries.
Weather and climate Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.
Weather and climate The ocean and land exert major influences on weather and climate by absorbing energy from the sun, releasing it over time, and globally redistributing it via oceanic and atmospheric circulation. The patterns of differential heating, together with Earth's rotation and the configuration of continents and oceans, control the large-scale patterns of oceanic and atmospheric circulation.

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Dr. Daniel R. Zalles (Principal Investigator)
Center for Technology and Learning
SRI International
333 Ravenswood Avenue
Menlo Park, CA