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Climate Change Data – Science – Data interpretation on ocean warming / acidification

GRADE LEVEL Senior (9-12)
PLEDGE 1 - Protection of Water

Resources Needed:

  1. Graphs from Figure 3 from Ripple et al., World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency 2022. BioScience, Volume 72, Issue 12, December 2022, Pages 1149–1155, (Note: students might not ask, but in case they do, note that the red parts of the graphs show data obtained after the publication of the previous World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency in 2020)


  1. Tell students you will be practicing interpreting different graphs. Do not give them the source yet.
  2. Lead a guided group review of how to analyse graphs (reading title, axes, looking at scale of axes, etc.). You could use one of the five graphs provided, or another graph from the same source (Figure 3).


  1. Put students in five groups, with each group being responsible for one graph (a, b, i, j or k). Ask students to interpret the graph using the following guiding questions:
    • What does the graph show? What are the patterns or trends you see? (positive/negative/none)? How strong is the trend?
    • What are the maximum and minimum values? What does this suggest?
    • Are there any outliers / anomalies / unexpected results?
    • What is a scientific explanation for the results? (students could research this or rely on prior knowledge)
    • Why does this variable matter?
  2. Individual written response (e.g. Google Classroom Question answer, or an email to the teacher, or handwritten in notebooks) to the following question:
    • Explain how the five variables (CO2, methane, ocean heat, ocean acidity, sea level) are connected.

Follow Up Activities:

  1. Read the first paragraph of the “A call to action” section at the end of the source material. Discuss the responsibility of scientists as global citizens to “speak truth to power”. How is this responsibility similar to and/or different than in other careers?