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Probable Futures


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Geography

Resource Type

  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New Jersey

Water: Maps of Precipitation

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  • This interactive world map allows students to see how precipitation patterns may change in the future based on several global warming scenarios. 
  • Students can also read stories from various locations on the map about precipitation changes already affecting different regions and communities. 
Teaching Tips


  • There are six different precipitation maps for students to explore that provide useful information for a number of possible questions about how climate change will affect weather patterns.
  • Students can click the camera icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen to save and download the current map view.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students can click on the circular "i" icon to read more about each data set and warming scenario.
  • Clicking on the question mark in the top right-hand corner of the screen leads students on an informative tour of the resource.
  • The map legend changes with each map selected.


  • Geography and science classes could use this resource in a lesson about biomes. Students could examine how different warming scenarios would change the precipitation in a region and whether or not it would create a new biome.
  • In English language arts or creative writing classes, students could use the map to see how local precipitation would change if global temperatures rose by 3˚C. Students could write a short story, poem, or diary entry that is set in the future with those conditions.
  • Other resources on this topic include this lesson plan and activity on temperature and precipitation as limiting factors, this video on why climate change makes extreme weather worse, and this article on how climate change affects precipitation.
Scientist Notes
This map models different climate scenarios and attribution using data on precipitation from historical records. Students can select each scenario and explore the impact on different climatic zones, countries, and regions. This is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • 6.ESS2.4 Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
      • HS.ESS2.2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
      • HS.ESS2.4 Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 6.ESS3.5 Ask clarifying questions based on evidence about the factors that have caused climate change over the past century.
  • Social Sciences
    • Geography (K-12)
      • HS.38 Use technologies to create maps to display and explain the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics at multiple scales.
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