Scientist-Educator Collaborative Workshop
What is the Evidence for Climate Change?
How Do We Know How Much Humans are Responsible?
Held at the New England Center on the University of New Hampshire Campus
Friday, March 13, 2009 through Saturday, March 14, 2009
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Original concept map created by Elizabeth Burakowski
Digital concept map created in the COSEE Concept Map Builder
Consensus concept map created using the COSEE-OS Concept Map Builder
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Presentation Videos & Maps

About this Workshop:
For this workshop, 12 educators from the New England area were matched with ocean and climate scientists from the University of New Hampshire to improve their collective understanding of Earth's major ocean - climate systems. [more]

About this Scientist:
Elizabeth Burakowski is both a climate and ocean scientist. She studies winter climate change in the northeastern United States, and also helps college-level students conduct scientific investigations aboard a research sailing vessel at sea. [more]
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Who Worked on this Concept Map
Bryan Field
Maddy Kelly
Polly Wilson
Elizabeth Burkowski
Scientist Elizabeth Burkowski explains the concept map and its development:

My initial concept maps focused on the long-term and short-term indicators of climate change, particularly how we distinguish between human versus natural causes. Scientists tend to consider how do you detect change: for example, in "paleorecords" (e.g., ice cores, sediment cores) and from instruments that measure temperature, precipitation, etc. Then they compare these records to computer model outputs to see how well they match (i.e., "attribution"). This iterative matching process is designed to reveal the best climate models which, in turn, allows us to simulate future conditions. In cases of undesirable model outcomes, researchers can begin to develop strategies to either mitigate change and/or adapt to the new climate conditions.

Working with educators, we re-configured my initial map to follow a conceptual flow from "scientific concepts" to the equations that drive "climate models." We illustrated the types of data that are used to create the equations (i.e., records, instrument and satellite data) and how these are either verified -- or not verified -- by running a series of simulations. An important part of the map is how the "Evidence" for climate change is produced by analyzing computer model outputs that separate "natural factors" from "human factors."
View All Concept Maps Created at this Workshop
Concept map