The subject of climate change presents a well-known conceptual challenge. Many articles and interviews by Nobel laureates in behavioral finance including Daniel Kahneman, Richard Thaler, and other scholars, show that climate change is an exceptionally amorphous concept. There are no deadlines, no discrete geographic locations, no single cause, no single solution, and no obvious enemy. Common depictions of climate change impacts include polar bears on breaking-away ice, coastal sea level rise, and the melting of Greenland glaciers. Given society’s wide skepticism and indifference toward climate change, teaching or communicating with these examples has obviously not been successful.
However, water is different. People can relate to water. Water is also a relatively neutral topic.
However, water is different. People can relate to water. Water is also a relatively neutral topic. No matter one’s political persuasion, people care about their water’s quality, availability, and sustainability. The lessons here are designed to have you investigate the water in your hometown and throughout the state of Indiana in the context of a changing climate.
The FutureWater community cyberplatform hosts hydrological models of the Wabash River basin, which covers most of Indiana (Dierauer and Zhu, 2020; Wang et al., 2020). A large cross-disciplinary team at Indiana University contributed to this effort and the models are run and stored on the university’s supercomputers (Dierauer et al., 2020).
The water cycle is projected to the year 2100 under two climate scenarios using climate data from an ensemble of 10 general circulation climate models. The outputs of the hydrological models are visualized with detailed maps and interactive graphs. Students can use the information on the cyberplatform to analyze Indiana watersheds and environmental changes associated with our water.
About the exercises
These lessons emphasize science practices such as developing and using models, analyzing and interpreting data, and engaging in argument from evidence. They attempt to implement research-based pedagogical strategies including the use of 5E (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate) lesson plans, emphasizing ABC: Activity Before Concept, and facets of computer-supported cooperative learning. The subject and the cyberplatform are also ideal for college level learning goals such as teaching students uncertain and incomplete data.
The lessons were developed by students in the Spring 2020 class of “Sustainability: Water Resources,” which is a 100-level introductory honors course for students to fulfill general education and natural science and mathematics requirements offered by the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.
These students include: Andrew Brown, Molly Carpenter, Katie Curry, Madeline Falk, Colton Gabouer, Ben Koontz, Mason Kuhlmann, Mikayla Lay, Mason Lown, Tyler Lussow, Nicholas Miller, Lizzie Pierce, Kennedy Reardon, Kiah Royse, Daniel Sacasa, McKenzie Stewart, Caydon Traino, Gloria Xue.
The students were helped by faculty and staff at University Information Technology Service (UITS): Jun Wang, Sudhakar Pamidighantam, Eroma Abeysinghe, Christie Marcus, and Alan Walsh. Current and former graduate students and post-doctoral associates of Chen Zhu: Jennifer Brand Dierauer, Anne G Hereford, and Bidisha Faruque Abesh also made various contributions.
Dierauer JR, Zhu C. (2020) Drought in the twenty-first century in a water-rich region: Modeling study of the Wabash River Watershed, USA. Water. 12:181. DOI.
Dierauer J, Zhu C, Gong L, Walsh A, Pamidighantam S, Wang J, Christie M, and Abeysinghe E (2020) FutureWater Indiana: A science gateway for spatiotemporal modeling of water in Wabash basin with climate change in focus. In Proceedings of CATCH THE WAVE AT PEARC20: Practice and Experience in Advanced Research Computing (PEARC ’20). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 252-261. DOI
Wang JR, Liu GM, Zhu C. Evaluating precipitation products for hydrologic modeling over a large size basin in Midwestern USA. Hydrological Science Journal, IAHS bulletin. 65(7):1221-1238. DOI