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Resources: One Year Scale


Seasonal Change- The Space Science Institute's Kinesthetic Astronomy activity is an excellent way for people of all ages to understand physically how Earth rotates on its tilted axis.

The annual monsoon cycle impacts billions of people around the world, particularly in southern Asia. See BBC Weather Basics: Monsoon. Review of Variability in the North American Monsoon.

Hydrology & Watersheds- EPA's Water Academy offers some background on hydrology, showing how hydrographs can be used to characterize the local climate signature. Also see:

The National Climatic Data Center is developing Climate Relevant Indices for the Economy including seasonal and year-to-year indices on Crop Moisture Stress Index and Residential Energy Demand Temperature.

The UK-based Climate Research Unit's Climate Monitor offers monthly climate summaries for the entire world.

For a good introduction to climate data, go to the IRI/LDEO Climate Data Library at Columbia University and check out their Introduction to Climate Data which provides an overview of instrumented climate data.

Animal MigrationImage of bird migration

The Bird Source program Birdcast provides information on bird migration along the mid-Atlantic seaboard. The image above shows heavy bird migration over southern New Jersey and the Delmarva peninsula detected by DOX Dover radar on the evening of 6 November, 1999 by the Clemson University Radar Ornithology Laboratory.

Other resources about the annual migration of animals include Journey North: Engaging Students in a Global Study of Wildlife Migration, the University of Kansas' Monarch Watch and the University of Wisconsin's Monarch Madness which describes how isotopes are used to track Monarch butterfly migration patterns.

Annual Cycle- Plants

The University of Illinois Extension's "The Great Plant Escape" provides an overview of how different plants adapt to different climates and growth cycles.

Annual Sea Surface Temperature animation
Image of annual sea surface temperature changes from University of Oregon Global Climate Animations

How do annual cycles relate to your community?

What are the signs or evidence of seasonal climate change in your region aside from the length of day?

Does precipitation and temperature vary or fluctuate over the course of the year, and if so, when are the wettest and driest periods? When are the warmest or coldest periods?

What types of vegetation changes occur during the course of the year?

Are there animal migrations in your region? Do they always occur during the same time each year?

How do different groups of people adjust to the seasonal changes in your region?

How do seasonal changes impact the use of energy in your community?

One way of tracking seasonal climate changes and their signals is to write them on a circle design similar to a clock, with 6:00 being the Winter Solstice and 12:00 being the Summer Solstice. Add notes, photos and artifacts that are indicators of the annual climate cycle.

After doing the Space Science Institute's Kinesthetic Astronomy exercise, debrief with others on the insights and ideas that you gained from this activity.

Image of Silver Lake
Images from University of Oregon, EPA and City of Boulder

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