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Missing Carbon: CO2 Growth in the last 400,000 Years

Greg Shirah, Jim Callatz, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

This NASA animation presents the levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide over the last 400,000 years, last 1000 years and last 25 years at different time scales. The data come from the Lake Vostok ice cores (400,000 BC to about 4000 BC), Law Dome ice cores (1010 AD to 1975 AD) and Mauna Loa observations (1980 to 2005).

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

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

  • A short animation that shows how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has fluctuated over time.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This is a very nice animation showing the atmospheric CO2 concentrations as measured at Mauna Loa and reconstructed from ice cores. It requires background and introductory instruction prior to use. Does not work as a stand alone resource.

About the Pedagogy

  • This simple presentation makes it clear how extraordinary the levels of atmospheric CO2 are since the industrial revolution.
  • There is no background material accompanying this animation, no information on where/how these data were developed.
  • Teachers should pose to students the question of "what is missing carbon and where is the missing carbon going?"

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The animation plays for 15.0 seconds and the downloads are 7-11MB.

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


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