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Global Warming: Carbon Dioxide and the Greenhouse Effect
http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.ess.watcyc.co2/global-warming-carbon-dioxide-and-the-greenhouse-effect/

FRONTLINE/NOVA, WGBH Educational Foundation, Teachers' Domain

This video segment demonstrates carbon dioxide's role in the greenhouse effect and explains how increasing concentrations of C02 in the atmosphere may be contributing to global warming. Video includes an unusual demonstration of C02's heat-absorbing properties, using infrared film, a researcher's face, and a stream of C02 between them.

Video length: 2:26 minutes.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 7 Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

  • This short video should be used to clarify the role of carbon dioxide in absorbing infrared energy re-radiated from Earth's surface. It will enhance student understanding of the greenhouse effect. The teacher will need to prepare to lead discussion following the video, using the essay and links provided.

About the Science

  • Video includes a simple and effective demonstration of how carbon dioxide absorbs infrared radiation – an idea often presented poorly in the usual discussions of the greenhouse gas effect.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • This resource includes a background essay, simple discussion questions, and links to national and state standards.
  • The background essay discusses the sources and sinks of carbon dioxide and the idea that some of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities is unaccounted for. Later work http://www.nature.com/climate/2007/0708/full/climate.2007.35.html argued that this missing carbon sink is in the greater-than-expected role of tropical forests.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The online version of the video is not of sufficient resolution for projection. The downloadable version will work better.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 5

MS-ESS2.D1:Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.

MS-ESS3.D1:Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.

MS-LS1.C1:Plants, algae (including phytoplankton), and many microorganisms use the energy from light to make sugars (food) from carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water through the process of photosynthesis, which also releases oxygen. These sugars can be used immediately or stored for growth or later use.

MS-PS3.D1:The chemical reaction by which plants produce complex food molecules (sugars) requires an energy input (i.e., from sunlight) to occur. In this reaction, carbon dioxide and water combine to form carbon-based organic molecules and release oxygen.

MS-PS3.D2:Cellular respiration in plants and animals involve chemical reactions with oxygen that release stored energy. In these processes, complex molecules containing carbon react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and other materials.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 7

HS-ESS2.D1:The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space.

HS-ESS2.D2:Gradual atmospheric changes were due to plants and other organisms that captured carbon dioxide and released oxygen.

HS-ESS2.D3:Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate.

HS-ESS2.D4:Current models predict that, although future regional climate changes will be complex and varied, average global temperatures will continue to rise. The outcomes predicted by global climate models strongly depend on the amounts of human-generated greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere each year and by the ways in which these gases are absorbed by the ocean and biosphere.

HS-ESS2.E1:The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth’s surface and the life that exists on it.

HS-LS1.C1:The process of photosynthesis converts light energy to stored chemical energy by converting carbon dioxide plus water into sugars plus released oxygen.

HS-PS3.D2:The main way that solar energy is captured and stored on Earth is through the complex chemical process known as photosynthesis.


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