Welcome to Down to Earth Climate Change
The Down to Earth Climate Science program is designed to help students understand climate science in the 21st century; and provide educators a way to integrate NASA data and Earth Science models into a coordinated series of lessons about climate change issues. Many students leave college without the scientific tools to evaluate the claims of climate change skeptics or to understand the importance of climate change science for themselves. They not only lack understanding about specific climate change issues, but are even unaware of the tools needed for understanding or the importance of modeling as a guide to facing the impacts of climate change. Moreover, when first generation college graduates are asked by friends and family to explain climate change, they often cannot articulate the issues or the scientific findings.
Down to Earth Climate Science is a collaborative effort of the University of California, Riverside and the nearby NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). We offer an innovative curriculum centered on data collections and Earth system models available from NASA and NASA data center web pages. Each week, the curriculum integrates an eclectic array of NASA-based data sources and modeling tools into a complementary lecture-lab to communicate and instruct about variety climate change issues. Classroom lectures focus on ways that NASA observes the Earth; these prepare the student for labs that make use of graphical learning tools and out-of-class exercises that serve as tools for exploratory learning. Inherent in this synthesis of NASA tools, lectures and exercises is a constant theme of thinking about Earth systems from a modeling standpoint. This approach prepares the next generation of students and leaders to understand and articulate issues. This is critical in a media-driven society that often considers "data models" pseudo-science.