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Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide

IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change)

This is a figure from the 2007 IPCC Assessment Report 4 on atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide over the last 10,000 years (large panels) and since 1750 (inset panels).

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Static Visualization supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 7 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Greenhouse effect
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2c
Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b
Increased GHG concentrations in atmosphere will remain high for centuries and affect future climate
About Teaching Principle 6
Other materials addressing 6b

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

  • These graphs can can complement discussions and activities around anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and their heat trapping qualities.

About the Science

  • This figure contains three graphs from the 2007 IPCC AR4 Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis.
  • Titled "Changes in Greenhouse Gases from Ice Core and Modern Data", this figure examines atmospheric concentrations of CO2, CH4 and N2O and the related radiative forcing of each.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The figure is valuable for showing the dramatic increase in atmospheric CO2, methane and nitrous oxide concentrations over the past 100 years relative to Holocene values. The figure also shows, on a second y-axis, the radiative forcing due to each of the greenhouse gases which can be helpful in demonstrating that even small concentrations of these gases can have a large impact.

About the Pedagogy

  • There is no pedagogic scaffolding, but this graphic can complement related information and activities.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Easy to access.

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

IPCC 4th Assessment FAQ- http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-faqs.pdf

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Static Visualization supports:

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

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.

Science and Engineering Practices: 7

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Engaging in Argument from Evidence

HS-P1.1:Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

HS-P1.2:ask questions that arise from examining models or a theory, to clarify and/or seek additional information and relationships.

HS-P1.3:ask questions to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships, between independent and dependent variables

HS-P1.4:ask questions to clarify and refine a model, an explanation, or an engineering problem

HS-P1.7:Ask and/or evaluate questions that challenge the premise(s) of an argument, the interpretation of a data set, or the suitability of a design.

HS-P7.2:Evaluate the claims, evidence, and/or reasoning behind currently accepted explanations or solutions to determine the merits of arguments.

HS-P7.5:Make and defend a claim based on evidence about the natural world or the effectiveness of a design solution that reflects scientific knowledge and student-generated evidence.

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