Could our climate change chickens be coming home to roost? - Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 25 March 2013

Freezing conditions and snow continued to cause major disruption across the UK this morning, leaving thousands of homes without power and many roads impassable.


Could our climate change chickens be coming home to roost?

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 25 March 2013


By Darren Evans

Freezing conditions and snow continued to cause major disruption across the UK this morning, leaving thousands of homes without power and many roads impassable.

Blizzards have caused power outages across Scotland and Ireland, and experts said that the previous two days are on track to be the coldest weekend in March for 50 years. They also warned that there could be more bad weather to come.

Paradoxically, on the other side of the world Australia is experiencing some of the hottest March weather for a decade. Sydney is currently sweltering in average maximum temperatures of 29°C, with forecasters predicting a rise above the 30°C mark this week.

All this has led experts to suggest that the effects of global warming are now being felt. Professor Will Steffen, of the Australian independent Climate Commission body, said: “Australia’s angry summer shows that climate change is already adversely affecting Australians.

“The significant impacts of extreme weather on people, property, communities and the environment highlight the serious consequences of failing to adequately address climate change.”

While forecasters are blaming the UK’s current cold snap on an area of high pressure, experts are warning people to prepare for more extreme weather in future.

Professor Sir John Beddington, the UK government’s outgoing chief scientific adviser, said the effects of climate change on the weather were already being felt around the world. He warned that even if immediate action was taken, there would be “significant” climate change over the next 25 years because of carbon dioxide emissions in the past.

Some scientists deny that the effects of man-made climate change are as serious as claimed, and Professor Beddington admitted there were “uncertainties” in the analysis.

“But those uncertainties are completely outweighed by the enormous body of evidence that shows it is happening and is happening in the sort of ways climate models would expect,” he said.

“For example, the Arctic is heating up vastly faster than other parts of the world – this is exactly what the climate scientists are predicting.”



Questions:

  • What do we mean by the term 'global warming'?
  • What are the causes of global warming?
  • What steps can we take at home or at school to help reduce global warming?
  • Can you give examples of the "The significant impacts of extreme weather on people, property, communities and the environment"?

Resources for you


The Little Ice Age

  • This activity shows that climate change is not just something that might happen, but is something that has happened in the past.

Climate Change: Past, present, future

  • These resources from Oxfam look at the causes of climate change.

The Impacts of Climate Change

  • This enquiry lesson aims to get students predicting the impacts of climate change.

Climate Change Challenge

  • A great lesson to get your students engaged and interested in the issues around climate change.

Earth Day

  • Hand-picked teaching resources climate change.



Further news resources


First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

In the news this week


Chancellor George Osborne sets out his spending plans for the next year.

Ten years ago, armed forces from the US, Great Britain, Australia, Poland and other nations invaded Iraq, then ruled by dictator Saddam Hussein.

People in Cyprus have been shocked to learn that its government plans to take almost 10 per cent of their savings.

When the white smoke billowed from the Sistine Chapel chimney on Wednesday the world's estimated 1.2 billion Catholics knew they had a new Pope.



In the news archive index