Jump to this Simulation/Interactive »
The Global Carbon Budget 1960 - 2100
http://carboncycle.aos.wisc.edu/carbon-budget-tool/

Galen McKinley, University of Wisconsin - Madison

This simulation allows the user to project CO2 sources and sinks by adjusting the points on a graph and then running the simulation to see projections for the impact on atmospheric CO2 and global temperatures.

Discuss this Resource»
Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Humans may be able to mitigate climate change or lessen its severity by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations through processes that move carbon out of the atmosphere or reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPd
The amount of solar energy absorbed or radiated by Earth is modulated by the atmosphere and depends on its composition. Greenhouse gases—such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane—occur naturally in small amounts and absorb and release heat energy more efficiently than abundant atmospheric gases like nitrogen and oxygen. Small increases in carbon dioxide concentration have a large effect on the climate system.
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2c
mate is regulated by complex interactions among components of the Earth system
About Teaching Principle C
Other materials addressing Cli
Natural processes driving Earth’s long-term climate variability do not explain the rapid climate change observed in recent decades. The only explanation that is consistent with all available evidence is that human impacts are playing an increasing role in climate change. Future changes in climate may be rapid compared to historical changes.
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4f
Observations, experiments, and theory are used to construct and refine computer models that represent the climate system and make predictions about its future behavior. Results from these models lead to better understanding of the linkages between the atmosphere-ocean system and climate conditions and inspire more observations and experiments. Over time, this iterative process will result in more reliable projections of future climate conditions.
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5c
Emissions from the widespread burning of fossil fuels since the start of the Industrial Revolution have increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Because these gases can remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years before being removed by natural processes, their warming influence is projected to persist into the next century.
About Teaching Principle 6
Other materials addressing 6b

Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
Other materials addressing:
7.3 Environmental quality.
The quality of life of individuals and societies is affected by energy choices.
Other materials addressing:
Energy affects quality of life .
Human demand for energy is increasing.
Other materials addressing:
6.3 Demand for energy is increasing.
Other materials addressing:
Human use of energy.
Greenhouse gases affect energy flow through the Earth system.
Other materials addressing:
2.6 Greenhouse gases affect energy flow.
Physical processes on Earth are the result of energy flow through the Earth system.
Other materials addressing:
Physical processes on Earth are the result of energy flow .

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide and water vapor, are transparent to much of the incoming sunlight but not to the infrared light from the warmed surface of the earth. When greenhouse gases increase, more thermal energy is trapped in the atmosphere, and the temperature of the earth increases the light energy radiated into space until it again equals the light energy absorbed from the sun.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark
The earth's climates have changed in the past, are currently changing, and are expected to change in the future, primarily due to changes in the amount of light reaching places on the earth and the composition of the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels in the last century has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which has contributed to Earth's warming.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark
Computer modeling explores the logical consequences of a set of instructions and a set of data. The instructions and data input of a computer model try to represent the real world so the computer can show what would actually happen. In this way, computers assist people in making decisions by simulating the consequences of different possible decisions.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark

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

  • Direct students to watch each projection at least twice: Once while focusing on the graph being produced, and then again to watch changes in the graphic at the bottom of the page.

About the Science

  • An interactive way to look at the global carbon cycle and its relationship with global warming.
  • The estimated global temperature response is a rough scaling based upon average IPCC AR4 (2007) model sensitivity to atmospheric CO2.
  • Students can adjust CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and land use (sources) and uptake from oceans and land (sinks).
  • Comments from expert scientist: A one-of-a-kind resource that I use frequently in graduate and undergrad teaching, teacher training, and K-gray outreach. An essential tool for teaching climate science, climate policy, scenario development and integrated assessment.

About the Pedagogy

  • Excellent graphic that shows changes in the carbon cycle given different scenarios of fossil fuel use in the future.
  • Students use the interactive as a tool to predict what temperature conditions on Earth will be given different levels of carbon injected into the atmosphere.
  • Shows the complexities of climate change and the usefulness and limitations of modeling.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The teacher may need to explain to students that they must select a button under sources or sinks before they can manipulate the graph on the left.
  • Good introductory material on home page http://carboncycle.aos.wisc.edu/. Easy to use and analyze the results.

Jump to this Simulation/Interactive »



Have you used these materials with your students? Do you have insights to share with other educators about their use? Please share with the community by adding a comment below.

Please use this space only for discussion about teaching with these particular materials.
For more general discussion about teaching climate literacy please use our general discussion boards.
To report a problem or direct a comment to the CLEAN project team please use our feedback form (or the feedback link at the bottom of every page).
Off-topic posts will be deleted.

Join the Discussion


Log in to reply