NASA/HS Climate Science


Extensive labs with supporting materials including powerpoint presentations, student handouts and more, that may be used in ATMS 211 or other geoscience courses, are available through the links below. You'll also find below links to YouTube interviews of graduate students talking about their research. Many of these students helped shape the UWHS ATMS 211 course and content and developed the modules below. Contact Miriam at if you would like the lab developer to present materials in your classroom.


Created by Nic Wayand with assistance from Ryan Currier, graduate students in the Mountain Hydrology Research Lab at the UW Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.

Students learn what causes rain-on-snow floods while considering the earth's energy balance, and utilize an excel model to investigate how these events might change in the future in the Pacific Northwest...

VIDEO: Rain on Snow Flooding Energy Balance (YouTube)

12/2014 UW Today Article Improving forecasts for rain-on-snow flooding by Hannah Hickey

Rain-on-Snow Flooding: Presentation, Lab and other teaching materials.


February 19, 2014
UW Climate Change Video Contest- The University of Washington School of Environmental and Forest Sciences wants to know: What does climate change mean to you? Create a video in three minutes or less to show the world how you feel about climate change. There are prizes for the 1st and 2nd place winners from the High School and Undergraduate submissions. Submissions are due on April 13, 2015 by 5pm (PST). For more information go to:

October 30, 2014
For the first time in two years, the UW in the High School program is now accepting applications from teachers who are interested in teaching UW Atmospheric Sciences 211 Climate and Climate Change in the 2015-16 school year or beyond.

This 5-credit interdisciplinary course covers the fundamentals of climate science including the physical and chemical processes that control Earth's climate, the history of Earth's climate, what we might expect for the future, as well as the practices and tools scientists use to study the climate. The course emphasizes the quantitative aspects of climate science and integrates the use of real climate data, empowering students with the tools to ask and answer their own questions. Students have the opportunity to access data that measures changes in the earth's climate globally and locally, model the processes that contribute to the observed changes, and test the relationship between predictions and observations.

Five high schools are offering the Climate and Climate Change course this year (2014/2015). It is being offered as either a semester-long or year-long science elective for students in grades 11 and 12. To ensure consistency in the curriculum, schools offering the course are required to use the same textbook as used on campus (Kump, Kasting, & Crane. 2009. The Earth System. 3rd Ed., Prentice Hall. Pearson (Prentice Hall) Educator Website).

Qualifications for teachers to be accepted:

* Required: MS or MA in Physics, Chemistry, Earth Science/Geology, Oceanography, Atmospheric Science or Engineering OR B.S. in one of the above fields AND recent significant involvement in climate change literacy or field-based research experiences related to climate change.

* Strongly recommended: College-level coursework in Climate Science.

To apply, teachers should send their current resume and a cover letter. The cover letter should address the teacher's qualifications for teaching the course and how the course will fit within the school's current course catalog.

Applications should be emailed to and will be accepted on a rolling basis until March 1, 2015. Teachers who are accepted to teach the course will participate in several days of training at UW in the spring and/or summer of 2015.

Note that applications for all other UW courses will not open until mid-January 2015. This is an early process so schools have time to add this innovative course to their catalogs for 2015-16.

Questions? Contact

Emily Edmiston, Program Administrator, UW in the High School ( with questions about application process or

Miriam Bertram, UW Program on Climate Change and UWHS ATMS 211 Liaison ( with questions about the course or training.


  • Paleoclimate Proxies and ENSO Presentation (Gambs)
  • Introduction to the Biological Pump (Heal)
  • From Isotopes to Temperature: Using Ice Core Data (Schoenemann)

  • Complete Modules


    Within each lab and module link is an overview of the activity, focus questions, and files needed for the labs.

  • Climate Model
  • Historical Temperature Data
  • NASA MERRA Circulation Model
  • Ice Cores-two versions are available.
  • Terrarium
  • Biological Pump
  • Culminating Project: Scientific Evidence for Anthropogenic Climate Change
  • ENSO (El Nino/Southern Oscillation) Investigation
  • From Isotopes to Temperature, & Influences of Orbital Forcing on Ice Records
  • Ocean Acidification and Oysters

  • Coming Soon:

  • Glaciology and Erosion
  • PCC Climate Scientist Interviews on Youtube

  • What drives scientists?
  • Comparing satellite measurements to climate model data
  • Determining past climate changes using Antarctic ice cores
  • Changes in the southern ocean circulation
  • Relating atmospheric chemistry to wildfires
  • Interactions between nutrients and photosynthetic organisms in the upper ocean
  • Observing large climate changes of past and future excluding changes in temperature
  • CO2 absorption from the atmosphere
  • Why it rains and where it rains
  • The affect of pollution on clouds in the southeast Pacific


    An ongoing collaboration between high school teachers and UW scientists

    The UW Program on Climate Change, in partnership with UW in the High School, the UW Department of Atmospheric Sciences, and NASA Global Climate Change Education, is supporting the teaching of climate science by high school teachers. Scientists and high school teachers have been and continue to partner in the development of climate science content for the classroom, as well as responding to specific classroom requests. Climate science modules and a full semester or year-long high school curriculum are being implemented in many high school classrooms including UWHS Oceanography, 9th grade integrated science, Sustainable Design, UWHS ATMS 211 and more.

    Examples of integration of the UWHS ATMS 211 into a full year curriculum include:

  • UWHS ATMS 211, 1 semester following on AP Environmental Science, at Central Kitsap High School.
  • Sustainable Design, with climate science content incorporated throughout the full year course, at the STEM school in Lake Washington School District by a by a 2010-2011 Einstein Fellow (among other awards) and in the Northshore School District by the 2011-12 Innovative Educator Award Winner!
  • UWHS ATMS 211, 1 semester following on UWHS Ocean 101, in Everett. Link to course outline.
  • UWHS ATMS 211, Full Year course, at Lake City High School in Idaho, by Idaho's 2013 teacher of the year!

  • Climate Science Teaching and Learning

    Opportunities and Resources

    There are several on-line courses that we recommend, for high school teachers interested in expanding their general knowledge of the climate system.

  • Coursera MOOC: Global Warming: The Science of Climate Change originally offered by David Archer at the University of Chicago (8 weeks, 2-5 hours/week).
  • EdX MOOC: Modeling Climate Change also through the University of Chicago. A Verified Certificate is available for a fee.
  • American Museum of Natural History Climate Science, designed for teachers. Fee, graduate credit available.

  • One-day professional development opportunities around climate and other earth system topics are now offered each fall by the UW Program on Climate Change. The last workshop featured a presentation on understanding the short and long term carbon cycles, and labs on Ocean Acidification, Rain-On-Snow Flooding, Isotopes and Paleoclimate, Glacial History of Puget Sound, Climate Models, and ENSO. Most of these labs are or will soon be available through the links above. Let us know ( if you are interested in being notified of our next one-day workshop, scheduled for fall 2015.

    Periodically UWHS offers training for high school teachers interested in teaching ATMS 211, and as indicated at the top of this page, a training will be offered to teachers accepted into the program by March 1, 2015. During this training teachers work through homework from the course textbook, followed by discussion with scientists, and delve into additional course content, tailored to the specific training group needs. A wealth of teaching materials were collected collaboratively as part of past workshops made possible through a grant from NASA Global Climate Change Education. These are made available to UWHS ATMS 211 teachers as part of the training.

    American Geosciences Institute: Geoscience Outreach Guide

    Visiting Geoscientists: An Educational Outreach Guide for Geoscience Professionals was developed to help geoscience professionals provide Earth science enrichment for students in school programs at the K-12 level. Provided on the main website is information about various types of enrichment and states the various standards that need to be met at varying school levels. A variety of labs targeted at different levels are present under Investigations for Different Age Levels.

    Additional Interesting Links:

  • 2013 National Climate Assessment
  • WA State Science Standards (EARLS with links to content standards)
  • NASA Innovations in Climate Education (NICE)
  • National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA) Fall 2012 eJournal
  • Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN)
  • Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College (SERC Carleton)
  • Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE)
  • Climate Change Curriculum Developed at Stanford University
  • Skeptical Science: Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
  • CAMEL Climate Change Education
  • Visiting Geoscientists: An Outreach Guide for Geoscience Professionals