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Missing Carbon: CO2 Growth in the last 400,000 Years

Greg Shirah, Jim Callatz, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

This NASA animation shows the levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide over different time scales. Viewers can compare the last 400,000 years, last 1000 years, and last 25 years. The data come from the Lake Vostok ice cores (400,000 BC to about 4000 BC), Law Dome ice cores (1010 AD to 1975 AD) and Mauna Loa observations (1980 to 2005).

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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

  • Educators will need to supply their own context for this animation.
  • The resource doesn't address the title "Missing Carbon," so it's suggested that the focus of this video is just on the changes of atmospheric CO2.
  • An explanation of missing carbon is at http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/BOREASCarbon/

About the Science

  • A short animation that shows how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has fluctuated over time.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This is a very nice animation showing the atmospheric CO2 concentrations as measured at Mauna Loa and reconstructed from ice cores. It requires background and introductory instruction prior to use. Does not work as a stand alone resource.

About the Pedagogy

  • This simple presentation makes it clear that the rise of atmospheric CO2 since the industrial revolution is extraordinary.
  • There is no background material accompanying this animation, no information on the details of how these data were developed.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The animation plays for 15.0 seconds and the downloads are 7-11MB.

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

There are three videos in this series, although there is no contextual information to stitch them together. http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/search.cgi?series=211

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