Life and Climate

Life and Climate book cover

LIFE AND CLIMATE is about how our atmosphere and climate came to be as they are today; how life on Earth evolved; and how the evolution of life and climate have affected each other since the Earth was formed. See Overview.


Chapter Titles
InvestigationsStay Current

1. Discovering the Atmosphere
1.1 Air Pressure
1.2. Draw Earth Cutaway
2. Where Did Earth’s Atmosphere Come From?2.1 TimelineChapter 2
3. How Do Scientists Play the Dating Game?3.1 Half-Life DecayChapter 3
4. The Beginning of Life on EarthChapter 4
5. The Origin of Our Oxygen-Rich AtmosphereChapter 5
6. How and When Did Complex Life Begin?Chapter 6
7. Earth’s Shifting Crust7.1 Convection CurrentsChapter 7
8. Highs and Lows Over the Past 750 Million Years8.1 Dissolving RocksChapter 8
9. What Happened to the Dinosaurs?Chapter 9
10. The Ice AgesChapter 10
11. Climate and Human EvolutionChapter 11
12. Climate and Culture12.1 Importance of Language
12.2 Greenlander Survival
Chapter 12
13. What Does Earth’s Past Tell Us About Our Future?13.1 Timeline II
13.2 Earth’s Future
Chapter 13
AcknowledgementsBibliographic Sources


Students find the story of how tiny plants brought oxygen to the Earth’s atmosphere and how changing climates may have brought about the evolution of our human ancestors in Africa five million years ago. They construct timelines and find out how we know where to place milestones in the development of life. They learn about the gradual acceptance of tectonic plate theory and how the movement of tectonic plates is now thought to cause the climate changes that affected the evolution of life. In one investigation students experiment with dissolving rocks to explore the long term carbon cycle which has contributed to the long term stability of the Earth’s climate. Finally, they consider what the Earth’s past can tell us about its future.