Students and teachers now can explore the fundamentals of climate science and dive deep into the mysteries of our planet’s ever-changing environment using the same scientific technology employed by top-level scientists from one of NASA’s leading environmental laboratories. For desktop and laptop computers, the Educational Global Climate Model (EdGCM), available for both Windows and Macintosh platforms, is a three-dimensional climate mapping and tracking device developed at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. This free online tool combines a complex computer modeling program with a graphical interface familiar to most PC users. Run on a desktop or laptop computer, the climate model allows teachers and students to conduct experiments identical to those run on supercomputers by scientists simulating past and future climate changes. EdGCM links the climate model to both a database and scientific visualization tools, making it simpler to create and organize data and images, according to the project web site. Supporting educational materials for EdGCM also in development. For instance, a curriculum module will walk students through a complete scientific project involving the model and climate change analysis. Plus, additional lesson plans will elaborate on how students can use a climate model to study topics such as ancient climates in geologic history or future climate water cycles. NASA, meanwhile, is contributing funding to improve cross-platform compatibility and to create detailed manuals to help guide teachers through the many uses and applications of EdGCM.

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