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A Year In The Life Of Earth's CO2

Goddard Media Studios, NASA

This high-resolution narrated video shows levels and movements of CO2 globally through the course of a year.

Video length is 3:11 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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

  • Use the video after an introduction to greenhouse gases or atmospheric CO2 for a good visual follow up or reinforcement of what's happening. Close-up short clips help to focus in on areas that could be of interest to students - including one over North America.
  • Ask students to consider emissions standards or current global emissions agreements and how those are or are not relevant to other nations.
  • Use this video when discussing the carbon cycle or before considering how the high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere affect oceans, temperature, and other environmental processes.
  • Visualizations can be used to have students point out where the primary centers of excess CO2 emissions are.

About the Science

  • A narrated video and a series of visualizations that provide ultra-high-resolution NASA computer models to look at how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere travels around the globe. The visualizations also illustrate differences in carbon dioxide levels in the northern and southern hemispheres and distinct swings in global carbon dioxide concentrations as the growth cycle of plants and trees changes with the seasons.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    - amazing overall visual
    - great, clear dialogue and description of photosynthesis CO2 uptake and CO release, differences between the N and S hemisphere concentrations
    - also really interesting to see the month-long simulations in specific regions

About the Pedagogy

  • Would work well when discussing greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, or other emissions. Helps to show how gases like CO2 move in the atmosphere and disperse globally through jet streams, storms, and other forces that are apparent in the visuals. Could fit in with lessons on the atmosphere or seasons.
  • The video explains the seasonal variations in the emission and transport of CO2 in the atmosphere. It should be shown before students look at any of the other visualizations.
  • Would work great as a formative prompt.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

Entered the Collection: April 2018 Last Reviewed: May 2015

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