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Arches National Park Geology Tour provides an extensive, visually rich description of the geology of Arches, by Deborah Ragland, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.
Some supercomputers can do more than 80 million calculations an hour! How fast could you do your math homework if you had a supercomputer?
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Modeling the Future of Climate Change

To figure out what the Earth might be like in the future, scientists need to know how Earth reacts to changes. Models help scientists to better understand how the Earth works and how it will react to climate change.

A model can help you understand how a something works. For instance, a model airplane is a small version of a real airplane. You can look at a model airplane from all sides to quickly understand what it is like. But it would be more difficult to look at a real airplane quickly from all sides. In the same way, a model of the Earth helps scientists understand more about the planet.

Unlike a model airplane, the models that scientists use to study the Earth system donít look much like a small version of the planet. Global climate models use math to describe how the Earth works. Tons of math equations describe everything from the oceans to plants and animals. Supercomputers are needed to do all the calculations. These speedy computers can sometimes do more than 80 million math problems in an hour!

What will the next century bring? According to scientists, it is likely that temperatures will rise 1.8 to 4.0 degrees C (3.1 to 7.2įF) in the next 100 years if we continue to let more greenhouse gases loose in the atmosphere. More warming over the next century would likely cause many more changes to Earth.

Last modified September 23, 2008 by Lisa Gardiner.

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The Winter 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, focuses on Earth System science, including articles on student inquiry, differentiated instruction, geomorphic concepts, the rock cycle, and much more!

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA