Visualization: Glaciers and Climate Change

An interactive visualization to visualize the shrinking and growing of a glacier as a result of changes in snowfall and temperature.

Students will change parameters such as temperature and snowfall and observe the corresponding effects on a glacier. They will discuss how climate change-related factors may impact glaciers globally, and how the study of glaciers can help in drawing inferences about the Earth’s climate.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. What climatic and environmental factors affect the size and motion of glaciers?
  2. How do glaciers provide evidence of climate change?

About the Tool

Tool Name Glaciers (PhET)
Discipline Geography, Earth Sciences
Topic(s) in Discipline Glaciers, Cryosphere, Impact of Temperature and Precipitation on Glacial Mass, Glacial Budget, Glacial Advance, Glacial Retreat
Climate Topic Climate and the Cryosphere
Type of Tool Interactive Visualization
Grade Level High School
Language English
Translation Afrikaans; Basque; Bosnian; Chinese (Simplified); Chinese (Traditional); Croatian; Danish; Dutch; Estonian; French; German; Greek; Hebrew; Hungarian; Italian; Japanese; Kazakh; Korean; Macedonian; Norwegian Bokmal; Persian; Polish; Portuguese (Brazil); Serbian; Slovak; Spanish; Spanish (Mexico); Spanish (Peru); Thai; Turkish; Turkmen; Vietnamese
Developed by PhET Interactive Simulations, University of Colorado Boulder
Hosted at PhET Interactive Simulations, University of Colorado Boulder
Access Online, Offline
Computer Skills Basic


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