is the focus of this module?
Students completing this module will learn how an event taking place
in the atmosphere and ocean can affect events in the biosphere and
may even affect events in the lithosphere. They should also obtain
a basic understanding of the concepts of anomaly and teleconnections.
is the compelling problem that students will face in this module?
Groups of student environmental "consultants" will provide
information on the environmental conditions and economic impact
that will accompany this developing El Niño. They will attempt to
report not only on what can be expected from this El Niño with regard
to weather, fisheries, and crops, but also on how the impact of
the El Niño might be softened.
issues will students encounter as they work through this module?
The one issue that students may raise is why the consequences
of El Niños with similar intensities vary. They should realize that
many other events may be occurring simultaneously in the earth system
that may either temper or magnify the effects of an El Niño. A couple
of examples include volcanic activity, solar activity, and different
phases of the stratospheric circulation (it changes on a quasi-biennial
Checklist--have you thought of everything?
a Working Problem Statement
To help students create a Working Problem Statement (WPS), you may
want to pose some introductory questions such as the following:
1. How does El
Niño relate to events in other parts of the world?
2. What might
be some far-reaching effects of El Niño in the biosphere? (drought,
floods, harvests, etc.) For these first two questions, students
should be expected to refer to the news media and links in the module.
They should be able to assess whether a particular event may be
associated with the El Niño.
3. How might the
effects of El Niño be lessened? Some recommendations students may
come up with include planting different crops in areas prone to
rainfall changes associated with an El Niño. They may also suggest
that fishermen travel to different waters or change their techniques
so they can harvest a changing fishery. Preparation by raising taxes
may be appropriate in some countries, so that citizens are able
to buy food or so that farmers may be subsidized in the event of
a crop failure. There are many other possibilities.