Visualizing Model Projections_KEY


Visualizing Model Projections


Objective – to examine visualizations of climate data sets.

Directions – for each of the tasks below, use the resources at the website to answer the questions

Task 1



What 2 IPCC scenarios are represented in these visualizations?

A1B and B1 (two of the “greenest” projections, imagine seeing scenario A2)


What 3 models are used to create the visualizations?

Climate Model 2.1 – Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL)

Community Climate Model – National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Hadley Centre HadCM3 – United Kingdom Meteorology Office


In what ways are the models different?

They are different in that they show different amounts of warming, both on a regional and global scale. The Hadley model shows extreme warming in North America while NCAR’s model does not.


In what very important way are all the models the same?

They ALL show a significant warming trend in the next century.


Which animation shows the greatest amount of warming in North America?

The Hadley Model with a more than 10 degree increase.

Task 2



What is shown in this visualization?

The movement of carbon emissions around the globe.


How is the data for this visualization gathered?

It is gathered from a network of observation sites around the world.


Watch the visualization and make at least 3 observations about what you are seeing.

Emission plumes over North America

Seasonal changes in atmospheric carbon

High concentrations near the tropics


What is the explanation for what you observed? (hint: read the Notable Features)

Emission plumes over major cities

Seasonal changes due to plant uptake of carbon

High concentrations in tropics due to biomass burnings

Task 3



What is shown in this visualization?

This shows the emissions of NOx compounds into the atmosphere by satellites.


Why is it important?

NOx is produced by incomplete combustion of both human and natural sources and is a key component to urban air pollution.


Record 3 observations about the animation.

Emission plumes near populated areas and in tropics

Seasonal changes

Greatest emissions are in developing nations


Explain why the observations are occurring.

Coal and gas powerplants and vehicles create the plumes

Seasonal changes due to the fact that NOx compound “live” longer when temperatures are colder

Developing nations have less restriction/control on powerplant and vehicle emissions

Task 4



What is shown in this animation?

A year long composite of the different sources of nighttime lights around the globe. Also, the bathymetry and topography of the Earth’s surface during the daytime.


Describe what the different colors of lights mean.

White – lights from cities

Orange – light from fires

Green – squid fishing boats

Blue – gas flares from oil rigs


What are the notable features of this animation?

Topography and Bathymetry

Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the Atlantic Ocean: longest mountain chain in the world

Marianas Trench: East of Japan, deepest location on Earth, 36,201 feet

Mount Everest: tallest Mountain on Earth, 29,035 feet

Nighttime Lights

Nile River outlined in white lights

Major cities and along coasts in white

Africa in orange due to slash and burn agriculture

Squid Fishing off the coast of Japan