Climate change from global warming: resources for intro biology

Things everyone should know about climate change from global warming, in the context of an freshman introductory biology class. Inspired by Kim Bostowick’s 2014 talk at BLC11. It’s past time that we inform and inspire our students about the biological impacts of global warming and resulting changes in climate. Please help populate this page with resources that you have used, or think could be useful, in an intro bio class.

Really cool interactive visualization of current Earth conditions:

Last modified May 30, 2015

The 3rd National Climate Assessment –

Katharine Hayhoe’s TED Talk: What if Climate Change Is Real?

13 Misconceptions about Global Warming

David Roberts Ted Talk: Climate Change Is Simple

James Hansen Ted Talk: Why I Must Speak Out about Climate Change

Gavin Schmidt Ted Talk: The Emergent Patterns of Climate Change

For those who are wondering about all the disinformation and counter-claims from denialists, this hour-long lecture by R. Milne of Edinburgh University makes wonderful, clear distinctions between science and politics, and among scientists, true skeptics, and denialists. This is a must-watch!

1. It’s about water, stupid!

Graphics of the Earth’s water and air Images of the planet Earth, and the planet’s water, fresh water, and air as spheres. Provides one perspective on the relative quantities.

A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself A NY Times article by Justin Gillis on the looming crisis in agriculture, caused by increasing population, changing diet, and global climate disruption, while research and development funds have declined. Links to follow-up related articles.

How do we feed the world w/o destroying it? Video by UMN Inst. Environment

Rising seas are already dislocating the poorest

2. Scales of change

Minute Earth A history of our planet in less than two minutes

Gavin Schmidt discusses various graphs of phanerozoic climate history in a post on Real Climate: Can we make better graphs of global temperature history? and Foster et al. produce new CO2 graphs: Past and future CO2 (March 2014).

Atmospheric CO2 measurements at Mauna Loa: the Keeling Curve

How sea level rise would impact Florida: a USGS interactive

3. Stories and specifics of how climate change affects species and populations

Center for American Progress story by Michael Conathan drives home the point that climate change is causing profound changes right NOW – not 50-100 years in the future. Fishermen’s views of a changing ocean

Kaitlyn Keller blogs on PLoS ONE about the projected impact of rising temperatures on a “living fossil” whose sex is determined by temperature during egg incubation.

Carl Zimmer’s NY Times column features stories about how animals may evolve in response to climate change. July 24, 2014: Experiments with tropical fruit flies.

NPR story: Hybrid Trout Threaten Montana’s Native Cutthroats – introduced rainbow trout move upstream to hybridize with native cutthroat trout, as a result of warmer temperatures and reduced water flow.

A Science Perspective on how the interplay between increased atmospheric CO2, genetic engineering, agronomic practices, and drought may affect corn yield in the U.S. midwest:

Moths in Finland appear to be doing well, despite negative effects of increasing temperature and rain on growth of moths. A study by Mark Hunter of the U. Michigan. Story here based on the publication: – which is paywalled, unfortunately.

Carl Zimmer’s NY Times story on temperature, CO2 and the growing season for plants with links to these articles and studies:

Greg Laden’s blog post on a study showing rapid changes in Appalachian salamanders, in response to warmer, drier conditions. based on this research article by Caruso et al. 2014. Widespread rapid reductions in body size of adult salamanders in response to climate change

One butterfly species (the quino checkerspot) adapts to climate change, comes back from the brink of extinction:

Other resources online:

Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis (NSIDC)

National Center for Science Education on climate change

RealClimate has numerous links and articles for people at different levels of knowledge


2 Responses to Climate change from global warming: resources for intro biology

  1. jchoigt says:

    I changed the title to include the words “global warming” based on recent research findings and this article:

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