This activity covers the role that the oceans may play in climate change and how climate change may affect the oceans. It is lesson 8 in a nine-lesson module Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change.

Students explore the carbon cycle and the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature. Students create and compare graphs of carbon dioxide and temperature data from one local (Mauna Loa, Hawaii) meteorological station and one NASA global data set. These graphs, as well as a global vegetation map and an atmospheric wind circulation patterns diagram, are used as evidence to support the scientific claims they develop through their analysis and interpretation.

This is a polar map of permafrost extent in the Northern Hemisphere. A sidebar explains how permafrost, as it forms and later thaws, serves as both a sink and source for carbon to the atmosphere. Related multimedia is a slideshow of permafrost scientists from U. of Alaska, Fairbanks, collecting permafrost data in the field.

This animation depicts the carbon cycle in a fashion that is suited for younger audiences. The video discusses how carbon enters and exits the environment through both natural and human-driven ways.

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.

This three-panel figure is an infographic showing how carbon and oxygen isotope ratios, temperature, and carbonate sediments have changed during the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. The figure caption provides sources to scientific articles from which this data was derived. A graphic visualization from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows the rapid decrease in carbon isotope ratios that is indicative of a large increase in the atmospheric greenhouse gases CO2 and CH4, which was coincident with approximately 5C of global warming.

In this activity, students conduct a short hands-on demonstration that simulates ocean acidification resulting from excess atmospheric carbon dioxide and discuss potential implications of increases in ocean temperatures and acidification due to climate change.

In this visualization, students can explore North American fossil fuel CO2 emissions at very fine resolutions of both space and time. The data is provided by the Vulcan emissions data project, a NASA/DOE funded effort under the North American Carbon Program.

One of a suite of online climate interactive simulations, this Greenhouse Gas Simulator uses the bathtub model to demonstrate how atmospheric concentrations of CO2 will continue to rise unless they are lowered to match the amount of CO2 that can be removed through natural processes.

This interactive animation focuses on the carbon cycle and includes embedded videos and captioned images to provide greater clarification and detail of the cycle than would be available by a single static visual alone.

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