Use today's news stories from around the world to inspire lessons and classroom discussion
By David Harrison
The extreme and unusual weather causing problems in many parts of the world shows no sign of abating.
The UK continues to be battered by a succession of storms and floods, causing damage to thousands of homes and disrupting road and rail services. The floods have prompted a political row over whether more could have been done to limit the damage.
This afternoon the British Met Office issued its first "red warning" of the Winter with 100mph winds forecast to hit parts of the country's west coast.
Politicians, academics and journalists have suggested that the conditions could be the fault of global warming.
The United States found itself in the grip of a freezing “polar vortex” earlier this year, plunging even southern states into sub-zero temperatures.
As the storm unfolded snow and ice severely impacted travellers and residents from Texas to the Carolinas.
The polar vortex was a cyclone of extremely cold air formed near the North Pole. That is usually where it stays, but if winds weaken it can spill southwards, bringing Arctic weather with it.
In the southern hemisphere, meanwhile, Australia has undergone a “highly significant” heatwave this Summer, with temperatures in some inland areas reaching over 50C, smashing previous records.
Meteorologists say that one symptom of climate change is more frequent extreme weather events of all kinds, from droughts to floods, heatwaves and cold snaps.
In the UK, the government has been heavily criticised for not investing enough in flood defences, and being in denial about climate change and failing to invest in renewable energy. The authorities have also been blamed for their slow reaction to the floods..
Questions for debate and discussion
Flooding then and nowCompare the ways in which communities tackle extreme flooding in the UK in 1953 and 2013.
An introduction to world climateThis lesson explores the reasons why climates around the world differ so greatly.
Introduction to climate changeThis detailed resource from ARKive explains everything you need to know about global warming and climate change.
Weather vocabularyHelp your students to improve their vocabulary with this handy list of weather wow words.
Yes, it's a great topic to discuss with children. I work for Practical Action, a development organisation and we've some free on-line materials for pupils aged 8-14yrs called Beat the Flood. It's a very hands-on challenge that links well to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. The pupils get the chance to learn about flooding globally, then look at the science and technologies involved in helping communities prepare for flooding, in particular flood-proof housing. There's case studies from schools using the challenge too.
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