Another form of remote sensing is satellite imagery. Some
satellites take "pictures" of the amount of infrared and visible light Earth gives off or reflects. Scientists analyze these
images to estimate things such as the pattern of vegetation or clouds covering the planet. Satellite images are an important tool used by
scientists to keep track of what is going on around the world.
The long-term pattern of weather that characterizes a region is
called climate. Scientists who study climate are called climatologists. Climatologists examine weather patterns and
other data from the past in order to make predictions about Earth's overall climate in the future. They make such
predictions by creating climate
For example, climatologists know that if carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air increases then the average global air temperature will increase. Climatologists have created a climate model to represent this relationship. They can enter a value for the amount of CO2 in the air into the mathematical equation of the model. By solving the equation, they can estimate the resulting air temperature. This is very useful in predicting the future climate of Earth. A simple model of the relationship between CO2 and temperature is provided in this module.
Many scientists have already predicted the global climate of our planet will be warmer in the future. This
is based on evidence that concentrations of CO2 in the air have been, and will continue to be, increasing.
Such models are useful for predicting general global climate trends. However, one must keep in mind that
estimates of climate change for a specific area are less exact.
The Carbon Dioxide, Temperature, Precipitation, and Wheat pages of this puzzle piece all contain observed and predicted data. Some of the observed data may have been collected through direct contact with the source, while other observed data may have been remotely sensed. The predicted data is based on trends or patterns in the observed data. Examine the predicted changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide and consider how such changes may impact global temperatures and precipitation patterns. Also consider how changes in temperature and precipitation may, in turn, play a part in changes in Wheat.
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