Universities Space Research Association


Following is an archive of papers and resources originally reviewed and published in the Journal of Earth System Science Education, an early experiment with open electronic peer review.


The Ice Age

Kent Kirkby et al
  • Kent Kirkby et al
    The Earth's climate is constantly changing in response to changes in atmosphere and ocean currents, or the ongoing process of plate tectonics. The last few million years of Earth's history have been characterized by particularly wide, short term swings in climate. These resulted in huge continental glaciers that advanced and receded across the northern latitudes. If the interpretations of the sedimentary record of deep sea cores are correct, there may have been over twenty glacial ages in the past 1.8 million years of the Pleistocene Epoch. These glacial events in turn triggered other climate changes and greatly affected the distribution and evolution of animals and plants.

    This module only concerns the most recent major climate shift, the end of the last glacial interval. However, its important to realize that our world is still very much in a glacial mode. We're simply living during an interglacial interval, a time when glaciers are at a relative minimum. Other interglacial intervals, some even warmer than the present, have occurred during the last few million years. These have alternated with periods of cooler climate - glacial maxima when ice covered over 30% of the Earth's land surface. Unless human-induced global warming artificially extends the present interglacial, the Earth's climate will likely begin to shift back towards a glacial maximum sometime in the next thousand years. Although it takes thousands of years to build a continental ice sheet, some computer models suggest that the first significant shift towards glacial expansion could occur within the next two hundred years.

Computationally Intensive Models in the Classroom

Owen Thompson

Considering the Earth as an Open System

Charles Breiterman

Ripples of Learning: A Middle School Teacher's Application of Content and Pedagogy Learned in the ESSEA Online Earth System Science Course

William Slattery at al

Integrating Policy into Science in the Classroom: Three Case Studies on the Atmosphere

Sarah Gille

Forming Concepts and Strengthening Vocabulary in Earth Sciences through Etymology

Nittala Sarma
  • Nittala Sarma
    Forming Concepts and Strengthening Vocabulary in Earth Sciences through Etymology

The National Weather Center REU Visiting Faculty Program

Wilson J. González-Espada

Learning environmental concepts in primary school for sustainable development

Christel Persson and Anna Musidowska-Persson