Climate System Resources

collapse Topic : Causes of Climate Change ‎(2)
Cyclical and Natural Changes
Human-Caused Changes
collapse Topic : Climate System ‎(12)
Atmospheric Circulation
Atmospheric Composition
Carbon Cycle
Climate Compared to Weather
Climate Feedbacks
Global Energy Balance
Greenhouse Effect
Ocean and Climate
Orbital Cycles
Regional Climates
Solar Radiation
Water Cycle
collapse Topic : Human Responses to Climate Change ‎(3)
Personal Responsibility
Risk Management
Social Values
collapse Topic : Impacts of Climate Change ‎(13)
Agricultural Changes
Economic Impacts
Ecosystem Changes
Extreme Weather
Freshwater Resources
Great Lakes Impacts
Melting Ice and Permafrost
Ocean Warming and Acidification
Plants and Animals
Public Health
Sea Level Rise
Surface Temperature Warming
collapse Topic : Measuring and Modeling Climate ‎(2)
Climate Modeling
Gathering and Measuring Climate Data

Carbon Cycle


Emissions of Heat-trapping Gasses. Your Climate, Your Future by World Wildlife Federation. Grades 9-12. Record how much energy they use at home to calculate their own carbon footprint. Students learn about atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping gases and make predictions while identifying the sources of emissions.

Lesson 1: The Carbon Link. Climate Change: Connections and Solutions, Facing the Future. Grades 6-8. Students take on roles as part of an interactive carbon cycle model, then witness a demonstration of the greenhouse effect and explore its role in global climate change.

Lesson 2: Carbon Dioxide Trends. Climate Change: Connections and Solutions, Facing the Future. Grades 6-8. Students graph data to examine atmospheric carbon dioxide trends during the past 45 years and predict future carbon dioxide emissions. The activity closes with a discussion of ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Carbon Dioxide Exercise. Science Education Resource Center. Grades 6-12. Students work in groups, plotting carbon dioxide concentrations over time on overheads and estimating the rate of change over five years. Stacked together, the overheads for the whole class show an increase on carbon dioxide over five years and annual variation driven by photosynthesis. This exercise enables students to practice basic quantitative skills and understand how important sampling intervals can be when studying changes over time. A goal is to see how small sample size may give incomplete picture of data.

Why is Carbon Important? NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Grades 9-12. Students explore the carbon cycle and the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature. Students create and compare graphs of carbon dioxide and temperature data from one local (Mauna Loa, Hawaii) meteorological station and one NASA global data set. These graphs, as well as a global vegetation map and an atmospheric wind circulation patterns diagram, are used as evidence to support the scientific claims they develop through their analysis and interpretation.

Carbon Dioxide Removal. American Museum of Natural History. Grades 6-8. In this experiment, students will observe a natural process that removes carbon dioxide (CO2) from Earth's atmosphere. This process is a part of the carbon cycle and results in temperature suitable for life. Students will learn that the carbon cycle is a fundamental Earth process. Throughout Earth's history, the balance of carbon has kept the atmosphere's carbon dioxide (CO2) and Earth's temperature within relatively narrow ranges. Using a mass balance model to understand carbon dioxide and its connection to global warming.

SERC-Teaching Quantitative Skills in Geoscience Collection. Grades 9-12. Students explore the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the past 40 years with an interactive online model. They use the model and observations to estimate present emission rates and emission growth rates. The model is then used to estimate future levels of carbon dioxide using different future emission scenarios. These different scenarios are then linked by students to climate model predictions also used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Using a Very, Very Simple Climate Model in the Classroom. Windows to the Universe. Grades 6-12. This is a teaching activity in which students learn about the connection between CO2 emission, CO2 concentration, and average global temperatures. Through a simple online model, students learn about the relationship between these and learn about climate modeling while predicting temperature change over the 21st century.

Global Climate Change: The Effects of Global Warming. Teachers’ Domain. Grades 9-12. The activity follows a progression that examines the CO2 content of various gases, explores the changes in the atmospheric levels of CO2 from 1958 to 2000 from the Mauna Loa Keeling curve, and the relationship between CO2 and temperature over the past 160,000 years. This provides a foundation for examining individuals' input of CO2 to the atmosphere and how to reduce it.

Understanding the Carbon Cycle: A Jigsaw Approach. SERC-On the Cutting Edge Collection. Grades 9-12. This is a jigsaw activity in which students are assigned one step out of five in the geochemical process stages to research on the organic carbon cycle. Students then teach their step in cross-step groups until everyone understands all five process stages.

Dinosaur Breath-Learning About the Carbon Cycle. TeachEngineering - Integrated Teaching and Learning Program. Grades 6-8. This activity illustrates the carbon cycle using an age-appropriate hook, and it includes thorough discussion and hands-on experimentation. Students learn about the geological (ancient) carbon cycle; they investigate the role of dinosaurs in the carbon cycle, and the eventual storage of carbon in the form of chalk. Students discover how the carbon cycle has been occurring for millions of years and is necessary for life on Earth. Finally, they may extend their knowledge to the concept of global warming and how engineers are working to understand the carbon cycle and reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions.

Our Unique Atmosphere. Your Climate, Your Future by World Wildlife Federation. Grades 9-12. Read and discuss articles on the atmosphere to understand how heat-trapping gases work in the atmosphere and why they and carbon dioxide are necessary for life on Earth.


Climate Report: Update on Global Warming by Sierra Club. The Climate Institute. This video examines how the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will alter weather patterns, change coastal landscapes, and affect human life. It also offers ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

General Web Resources

Carbon Bathtub: The Big Idea. National Geographic. The December 2009 National Geographic issue (print and online) has an excellent set of graphics describing the global system of carbon flow including sinks and fluxes with related climate change concerns. Using a bathtub with quantitative inputs and outputs, and the potential to overflow, this is a comprehensive visual description of a complex system. Carbon Fund. Carbon fund is leading the fight against global warming, making it easy and affordable for any individual, business or organization to reduce & offset their climate impact and hasten the transition to a clean energy future.

Global Warming: It's All About Carbon by Robert Krulwich. An animated series on the atom at the heart of global warming.

Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Did you ever wonder what reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 1 million metric tons means in everyday terms? The EPA has a tool for translating phrases like "metric ton of carbon dioxide" into more everyday terms, such as "the carbon dioxide emissions of a passenger car over two months." Simply enter the amount of emissions in one measure, and the calculator then lists a selection of equivalent measures.

Your Questions: Carbon Power. NPR. Provides a basic explanation of how carbon dioxide influences the climate and how we are contributing to carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. What is the big deal with carbon?

Climate Kids: NASA’s eyes on the Earth. This section of NASA’s Climate Kids site provides a basic understanding of carbon and how it affects climate and all living things on Earth. Carbon, carbon everywhere.

Vital Climate Change Graphics by UNEP/GRID-Arendal, Arendal, Norway. This section describes why carbon is so important to life on Earth and how disruptions in this cycle can have substantial consequences for climate stability.