A series of activities designed to introduce students to the role of sediments and sedimentary rocks in the global carbon cycle and the use of stable carbon isotopes to reconstruct ancient sedimentary environments. Students will make some simple calculations, think about the implications of their results, and see an optional demonstration of the density separation of a sediment sample into a light, organic and a heavier mineral fraction.

This activity from NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory introduces students to the current scientific understanding of the greenhouse effect and the carbon cycle. The activity leads them through several interactive tasks investigating recent trends in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Students analyze scientific data and use scientific reasoning to determine the causes responsible for these recent trends. By studying carbon cycle science in a visual and interactive manner, the activity provides students with a conceptual framework with which to address the challenges of a changing climate.

In this video from the Polaris Project Website, American and Siberian university students participating in the project describe their research on permafrost.

This visualization illustrates the carbon cycle throughout the oceanic zones, beginning at the surface and traveling to the deep. The concept map-like connections encourage students to link the abiotic and biotic interactions within the oceanic food web.

This static visualization shows that the global carbon cycle is determined by the interactions of climate, the environment, and Earth's living systems at many levels, from molecular to global.

A simplified representation of the terrestrial carbon cycle side by side with the ocean carbon cycle. Fluxes and reservoirs expressed in gigatons are included.

The activity follows a progression that examines the CO2 content of various gases, explores the changes in the atmospheric levels of CO2 from 1958 to 2000 from the Mauna Loa Keeling curve, and the relationship between CO2 and temperature over the past 160,000 years. This provides a foundation for examining individuals' input of CO2 to the atmosphere and how to reduce it.

This article and slide show from the New York Times, features several scientists from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, who study the effects of thawing permafrost in Alaska.

This interactive shows the different components of the ocean biological pump, i.e., how carbon in the form of either plankton or particles moves into the ocean's depths. It illustrates the situation at the surface, 0-100 meters, 100-500 meters, and below 500 meters.

This video segment from 'Earth: The Operators' Manual' explores how we know that today's increased levels of CO2 are caused by humans burning fossil fuels and not by some natural process, such as volcanic out-gassing. Climate scientist Richard Alley provides a detailed step-by-step explanation that examines the physics and chemistry of different "flavors" or isotopes of carbon in Earth's atmosphere.

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