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This set of three videos illustrates how math is used in satellite data analysis. NASA climate scientist Claire Parkinson explains how the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice covers are measured from satellite data and how math is used to determine trends... (View More) in the data. In the first video, she leads viewers from satellite data collection through obtaining a time series of monthly Arctic and Antarctic average sea ice extents for November 1978-December 2012. In the second video, she begins with the time series from the first video, removes the seasonal cycle by calculating yearly averages, and proceeds to calculate the slopes of the lines to get trends in the data, revealing decreasing sea ice coverage in the Arctic and increasing sea ice coverage in the Antarctic. In the third video, she uses a more advanced technique to remove the seasonal cycle and shows that the trends are close to the same, whichever method is used. She emphasizes the power of math and that the techniques shown for satellite sea ice data can also be applied to a wide range of data sets. **Note: See Related & Supplemental Resources for the maps and data files (1978-2015) that will allow you to do the calculations shown in the video. These also include data for different regions of the Arctic and Antarctic, enabling learners to do additional calculations beyond those shown in the videos.** (View Less)

Students explore how mathematical descriptions of the physical environment can be fine-tuned through testing using data. In this activity, student teams obtain satellite data measuring the Earth's albedo, and then input this data into a... (View More) spreadsheet-based radiation balance model, GEEBITT. They validate their results against published the published albedo value of the Earth, and conduct similar comparisons Mercury, Venus and Mars. The resource includes an Excel spreadsheet tutorial, an investigation, student data sheets and a teacher's guide. Students apply their understanding to the real life problem of urban heat islands and deforestation. The activity links builds on student outcomes from activities A and B: "Finding a Mathematical Description of a Physical Relationship," and "Making a Simple Mathematical Model." This is Activity C in module 3, Using Mathematical Models to Investigate Planetary Habitability, of the resource, Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate? The course aims to help students to develop an understanding of our environment as a system of human and natural processes that result in changes that occur over various space and time scales. (View Less)