An Effect of rapidly melting permafrost

Grade level: 6th grades

Skills: Average 

sRelated environmental issues: Climate Change

It was reported that the temperature in the Arctic is the warmest in more than 10,000 years and it resulted in rapidly melting permafrost, soil that remains frozen year round. Due to the warmer temperature, the number of thaw slumps on Banks Island in Canada increased from 63 in 1984 to 4,077 in 2019. Those researchers predict that Banks Island will have 10,000 new slumps by 2085 if current climate warming continues.  Permafrost thaw could accelerate climate warming by releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere.*

Permafrost (Climate State)

  1. Between 1984 and 2019, how many did the number of thaw slumps increase per year on average? Round to the nearest whole number.
  2. Between 2019 and 2085, according to the prediction, how many will the number of thaw slumps increase per year on average? Round to the nearest whole number. 

*Note) Permafrost is soil that remains frozen year round. Due to its frozen state, organic matter in permafrost soils experience little decomposition by soil microbes. As a result, permafrost soils in high latitude ecosystems currently store twice as much carbon as is currently present in the atmosphere. More than 50% of global terrestrial carbon is stored in permafrost regions. Permafrost thaw stimulates the microbial decomposition of soil organic matter. This decomposition results in releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere.

 

 

 

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Answer keys

  1. 115    (4077-63) / (2019-1984) = 4014 / 35 = 114.6
  2. 90   (10000 – 4077) / (2085 – 2019) = 5923 / 66 = 89.7

How fast was the wind speed of Hurricane Harvey?

Grade level:  5th – 6th grades

Skills: Measurement (Speed)

Hurricane Harvey landed in Texas on August 25, 2017. It became one of the most destructive hurricanes that made landfall in the United States. Hurricanes are categorized into one of 5 classification based on a hurricane’s wind speed.  The table below shows the 5 categories and their potential damage caused by winds.

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  1. Maximum wind speed in Harvey’s eyeball was measured 130 mph (miles per hour). Which category does Harvey belong to?
  2. How fast did winds in Harvey’s eyeball move per minute? Round the number to the nearest whole number.
  3. Hurricane Maria landed in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. Maria made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane. What kind of potential damage did Maria give to the houses and trees in Puerto Rico?

Sources: National Hurricane Center

 

Answer keys

  1. Category 4
  2. 130 ÷ 60 ≈ 2
  3. Potential damage to houses: Loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls                   Potential damage to most trees:  snapped or uprooted