Mauna Loa CO2 Collection Data

Students examine data from Mauna Loa to learn about CO2 in the atmosphere. The students also examine how atmospheric CO2 changes through the seasonal cycle, by location on Earth, and over about 40 years and more specifically over 15 years. Students graph data in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere and draw conclusions about hemispherical differences in CO2 release and uptake.

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Connecticut Energy Education

Notes From Our Reviewers

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Read the student worksheet first, which has a more constrained dataset for graphing. Educators' guide contains a more extensive dataset that the educator can give to more advanced students.

Younger students may require additional scaffolding for graphing and analyzing the graphs.

We suggest that educator look for the most up-to-date Keeling Curve. Suggested link:

Educator should be prepared to explain to students that the volcanic gases are not affecting the measurements, which is an often-cited argument that climate change deniers use to discredit these CO2 measurements.

Amount of material may be overwhelming for educators.

The multi-decadal trend is calculated but none of the discussion questions prompt students to discuss the data. A discussion should be initiated by the educator.