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Decrease in Carbon Isotope Ratios

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

This three-panel figure is an infographic showing how carbon and oxygen isotope ratios, temperature, and carbonate sediments have changed during the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. The figure caption provides sources to scientific articles from which this data was derived. A graphic visualization from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows the rapid decrease in carbon isotope ratios that is indicative of a large increase in the atmospheric greenhouse gases CO2 and CH4, which was coincident with approximately 5C of global warming.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Biogeochemical cycles of greenhouse gases / Carbon cycle
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2d
Changes in climate is normal but varies over times/ space
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Natural processes of CO2 removal from atmosphere is slow; Long residence time of some GHG
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Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
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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

About the Science

  • How carbon and oxygen isotope ratios, temperature, and carbonate sediments changed during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum in the Southern, Central Pacific, and South Atlantic oceans.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Could be paired with any lesson plan on paleoclimate, paleoceanography, and global change. A good complementary resource.

About the Pedagogy

  • The static visualization should be paired with the 2007 IPCC report found.

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


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