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CO2 in the Ice Core Record

Geoff Haines-Stiles Productions, Earth: The Operators' Manual

This video segment, from the 'Earth: The Operators' Manual' featuring climate expert Richard Alley, shows how ice cores stored at the National Ice Core Lab provide evidence that ancient ice contains records of Earth's past climate - specifically carbon dioxide and temperature.

Video length: 3:01 min.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Milankovitch/orbital cycle
About Teaching Principle 1
Other materials addressing 1d
Changes in climate is normal but varies over times/ space
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4d
Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

About the Science

  • Studying ice cores at the National Ice Core Lab demonstrates how ancient ice contains records of Earth's past climate.
  • Ice core analysis has indicated that levels of carbon dioxide have risen and fallen over the past 400,000 years. Today CO2 levels are rising 2 parts per million (ppm) per year, more than 100 ppm above pre-industrial levels.
  • The congruency between temperature and CO2 levels over the past 400,000 years is illustrated and discussed.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
  • The material is presented by a noted expert in the field, Richard Alley.
  • Very strong scientifically but without references for the records shown.

About the Pedagogy

  • An annotated script, learning objectives, vocabulary, and teacher tips are provided.
  • Students will understand that ice cores contain climate indicators, examine the historical relationship between temperature and CO2 levels, understand that climate patterns cycle naturally, and will learn that current CO2 levels far exceed any in recorded human history.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • There are captions along the bottom of the screen, which help in following the storyline.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Earth: The Operators' Manual: http://earththeoperatorsmanual.com

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