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This exercise follows several class lectures and reading assignments that focus on solar energy fluxes, wind, and ocean circulation as separate components. Students are split into small groups (2-4 depending on class size) and are asked to answer the questions presented based on the graphed data. Student groups are given approximately 20 minutes to discuss their answers. This is followed by instructor moderated discussion of the different group answers in the context of the role of heat as the engine of the climate system. Most students have little background in graph interpretation (especially understanding negative values) and the small group format creates a less-threatening peer environment which helps to involve all students in the exercise. The group discussion provides a great lead in for further lecture on interactions between different elements in the global climate system in following class periods and assignments.
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