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The Global Carbon Budget 1960 - 2100

Galen McKinley, University of Wisconsin - Madison

This simulation allows the user to project CO2 sources and sinks by adjusting the points on a graph and then running the simulation to see projections for the impact on atmospheric CO2 and global temperatures.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Simulation/Interactive supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 2 Performance Expectations, 7 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts, 9 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Greenhouse gas reduction and carbon dioxide sequestration to mitigate climate change
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPd
Evidence is that human impacts are playing an increasing role in climate change
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4f
Observations, experiments, and theory are used to construct and refine computer models
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5c
Increased GHG concentrations in atmosphere will remain high for centuries and affect future climate
About Teaching Principle 6
Other materials addressing 6b

Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
Other materials addressing:
7.3 Environmental quality.
Human demand for energy is increasing.
Other materials addressing:
6.3 Demand for energy is increasing.
Greenhouse gases affect energy flow through the Earth system.
Other materials addressing:
2.6 Greenhouse gases affect energy flow.

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

  • Direct students to watch each projection at least twice: Once while focusing on the graph being produced, and then again to watch changes in the graphic at the bottom of the page.

About the Science

  • An interactive way to look at the global carbon cycle and its relationship with global warming.
  • The estimated global temperature response is a rough scaling based upon average IPCC AR4 (2007) model sensitivity to atmospheric CO2.
  • Students can adjust CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and land use (sources) and uptake from oceans and land (sinks).
  • Comments from expert scientist: A one-of-a-kind resource that I use frequently in graduate and undergrad teaching, teacher training, and K-gray outreach. An essential tool for teaching climate science, climate policy, scenario development and integrated assessment.

About the Pedagogy

  • Excellent graphic that shows changes in the carbon cycle given different scenarios of fossil fuel use in the future.
  • Students use the interactive as a tool to predict what temperature conditions on Earth will be given different levels of carbon released into the atmosphere.
  • Shows the complexities of climate change and the usefulness and limitations of modeling.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The teacher may need to explain to students that they must select a button under sources or sinks before they can manipulate the graph on the left.
  • Good introductory material on home page http://carboncycle.aos.wisc.edu/. Easy to use and analyze the results.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Simulation/Interactive supports:

High School

Performance Expectations: 2

HS-ESS2-6: Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.

HS-ESS3-6: Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.

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.D:Weather and Climate

HS-LS2.B3:Photosynthesis and cellular respiration are important components of the carbon cycle, in which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and geosphere through chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes.

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

HS-PS3.D:Energy in Chemical Processes

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Cause and effect, Systems and System Models

HS-C2:Cause and effect

HS-C4:Systems and System Models

Science and Engineering Practices: 9

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Developing and Using Models, Analyzing and Interpreting Data

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-P1.5:Evaluate a question to determine if it is testable and relevant

HS-P1.6:Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the school laboratory, research facilities, or field (e.g., outdoor environment) with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on a model or theory.

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-P2.3:Develop, revise, and/or use a model based on evidence to illustrate and/or predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system

HS-P2.6:Develop and/or use a model (including mathematical and computational) to generate data to support explanations, predict phenomena, analyze systems, and/or solve problems.

HS-P4.1:Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.

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