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Time History of Atmospheric CO2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbgUE04Y-Xg&context=C43c7ee4ADvjVQa1PpcFNrUvr58NUnczikjQd5Q9fncKagX4f79_4=

NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Carbon Tracker Program

This animated visualization represents a time history of atmospheric carbon dioxide in parts per million (ppm) from 1979 to 2011, and then back in time to 800,000 years before the present.

Animation length: 3:15 minutes.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Environmental observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system. From the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the Sun, instruments on weather stations, buoys, satellites, and other platforms collect climate data. To learn about past climates, scientists use natural records, such as tree rings, ice cores, and sedimentary layers. Historical observations, such as native knowledge and personal journals, also document past climate change.
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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
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Human activities have affected the land, oceans, and atmosphere, and these changes have altered global climate patterns. Burning fossil fuels, releasing chemicals into the atmosphere, reducing the amount of forest cover, and rapid expansion of farming, development, and industrial activities are releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and changing the balance of the climate system.
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Benchmarks for Science Literacy
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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.
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Human activities, such as reducing the amount of forest cover, increasing the amount and variety of chemicals released into the atmosphere, and intensive farming, have changed the earth's land, oceans, and atmosphere. Some of these changes have decreased the capacity of the environment to support some life forms.
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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

  • There are multiple data sets represented in the visualization and thus will need scaffolding by the teacher.
  • This visualization would best be shown to an entire class with scaffolding from the teacher as opposed to students looking at the visualization by themselves. College-level students would not need as much scaffolding.
  • Tutorial on Carbon Tracker is available here: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/carbontracker/tutorial.html

About the Science

  • Visualization starts with data from 1979 to present, showing the monthly variations (Keeling curve) as well as the global distribution along a latitudinal line with a very clear spike of CO2 concentrations in the northern hemisphere. Animation then moves into exploring pre-industrial and ice age atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
  • See http://carbontracker.noaa.gov for more information on the Carbon Tracker.
  • This is a nice animation showing the measurements of atmospheric CO2, and the increase through time since measurements began at NOAA in 1979. It clearly shows the increase through time and the overlying seasonal cycle in the Northern hemisphere.

About the Pedagogy

  • Animation is data-rich and students will likely need multiple viewings. Even if students do not understand ppm, the visual impact of the increase in CO2 concentration since pre-industrial times is hard to miss.
  • A worksheet to support the exploration of the animation might be helpful.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Excellent technical quality. Site recommends viewing in full screen at HD.

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