The warming trend in the Arctic is twice as large as the global average in recent decades. The loss of sea ice amplifies the warming trend because the ocean surface absorbs more sun heat than the surface of snow and ice. How does that affect the planet?

How does the lesson relate to STEAM education: Students learn about albedo and the melting sea ice positive feedback loop and the likely results of reduced snow and ice cover on global temperatures. The toolkit contains multidisciplinary concepts, like albedo (useful for Physics, Geography), feedback loops (useful for Biology, Chemistry and Geography) and demonstrates how some factors are affecting other factors in the environment and how they are inter-connected. The main emphasis is put on Science, but the toolkit contains tasks from Mathematics (calculation of sea ice extent differences), Engineering (by designing and performing the experiment) and encourages students to use Technology (by means of the online version of the toolkit and suggested ways of communication of their findings).

Keywords: albedo, positive feedback loop, sea ice, climate change, Arctic amplification 

The activity was created within the POLAR STAR project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European (2019-1-FI01-KA201-060780).

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Prior Knowledge Requirements

General knowledge on climate; reading climate graphs; analysing graphs.

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