In this experiment, students will observe a natural process that removes carbon dioxide (CO2) from Earth's atmosphere. This process is a part of the carbon cycle and results in temperature suitable for life. Students will learn that the carbon cycle is a fundamental Earth process. Throughout Earth's history, the balance of carbon has kept the atmosphere's carbon dioxide (CO2) and Earth's temperature within relatively narrow ranges.
This is a photo essay linked to a New York Times story about climate-related stressors on forests -- including mountain pine beetles, forest fires, forest clearance, and ice storms -- and the importance of protecting forests as an important carbon sink.
This activity illustrates the carbon cycle using an age-appropriate hook, and it includes thorough discussion and hands-on experimentation. Students learn about the geological (ancient) carbon cycle; they investigate the role of dinosaurs in the carbon cycle, and the eventual storage of carbon in the form of chalk. Students discover how the carbon cycle has been occurring for millions of years and is necessary for life on Earth. Finally, they may extend their knowledge to the concept of global warming and how engineers are working to understand the carbon cycle and reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions.
This activity introduces students to visualization capabilities available through NASA's Earth Observatory, global map collection, NASA NEO and ImageJ. Using these tools, students build several animations of satellite data that illustrate carbon pathways through the Earth system.
Interactive visualization that provides a basic overview of the Earth's carbon reservoirs and amount of carbon stored in each, CO2 transport among atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere, and a graph comparing global temp (deg C) and atmospheric CO2 levels (ppm) over the past 1000 years.