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Bonnie Waltch, Susan Gray


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Videos, 8 minutes, 45 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus


Feedback Loops - Atmosphere

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  • This video outlines two feedback loops related to the effects of global warming on moisture in the atmosphere and changes in the jet streams. 
  • It uses graphics, maps, interviews, and video footage to explain the connections between changing weather patterns and global warming, and provides information about solutions that will help fight climate change.
Teaching Tips


  • The narration is slow and easy to understand.
  • Three credible experts are featured in the video: Jennifer Francis, Warren Washington, and Kerry Emanuel.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Feedback loops are closely related to tipping points. It could be helpful to have students watch The Climate Tipping Points that Could Change the Earth Forever to learn more about them before or after watching this video.
  • Teaching about feedback loops can be emotionally challenging for teachers and students. Before engaging in this topic, it may be best to check in with students' emotions. Let your students know that all emotions are acceptable and normal to feel.


  • Understanding the concept of feedback loops can be tricky. During or after the video, you can have students turn and talk to explain these two feedback loops to each other.
  • Students can copy the feedback loop diagrams into a notebook. You can pause the video at 3:07 and 7:40 for students to see the two feedback loop diagrams. Students can also add pictures to their diagrams to improve comprehension.
  • For a comprehensive explainer on Earth's atmosphere, students can watch Essentials of Environmental Science: Understanding the Atmosphere.
Scientist Notes
When fossil fuel emissions spew into the atmosphere, it increases the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere and causes extreme weather events. It is time to act to re-green the planet and incentivize ways to limit heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere to cool the Earth. This is recommended for teaching.
  • Science and Engineering
    • ESS2: Earth’s Systems
      • HS-ESS2-2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
      • HS-ESS2-5 Plan and conduct an investigation of the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-6 Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
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