This set of activities is about carbon sources, sinks, and fluxes among them - both with and without anthropogenic components.

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 Earth Exploration Toolbook chapter uses ArcGIS and climate data from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Climate Change Scenarios GIS Data Portal to help users learn the basics of GIS-based climate modeling. The five-part exercise involves calculating summer average temperatures for the present day and future climate modeled output, visually comparing the temperature differences for the two model runs, and creating a temperature anomaly map to highlight air temperature increases or decreases around the world.

In this activity, students work in groups, plotting carbon dioxide concentrations over time on overheads and estimating the rate of change over five years. Stacked together, the overheads for the whole class show an increase on carbon dioxide over five years and annual variation driven by photosynthesis. This exercise enables students to practice basic quantitative skills and understand how important sampling intervals can be when studying changes over time. A goal is to see how small sample size may give incomplete picture of data.

In this activity, students calculate temperatures during a time in the geologic record when rapid warming occurred using a well known method called 'leaf-margin analysis.' Students determine the percentage of the species that have leaves with smooth edges, as opposed to toothed, or jagged, edges. Facsimiles of fossil leaves from two collection sites are examined, categorized, and the data is plugged into an equation to provide an estimate of paleotemperature for two sites in the Bighorn Basin. It also introduces students to a Smithsonian scientist who worked on the excavation sites and did the analysis.

In this activity, students critically evaluate the arguments about climate change raised in a climate contrarian newspaper op-ed. This exercise is intended to strengthen student critical thinking and content knowledge at the end of unit on the climate system.

This module contains five activities, in increasing complexity, that focus on understanding how to interpret and manipulate sea level data, using real data from NOAA.

Students first need to understand how to access and interpret sea surface height and tide data. To understand how to interpret these data, students will review and practice computing mean values. Along the way, they will learn how different factors, such as storms, affect tide levels and how to measure them. The goal is for students to become experienced with these kinds of data and the tools for accessing them so that, by the end of the module, they can continue to explore data sets driven by their own inquiry.

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 activity for undergraduate students, learners build a highly simplified computer model of thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean and conduct a set of simulation experiments to understand the complex dynamics inherent in this simple model.

In this activity, learners use the STELLA box modeling software to determine Earth's temperature based on incoming solar radiation and outgoing terrestrial radiation. Starting with a simple black body model, the exercise gradually adds complexity by incorporating albedo, then a 1-layer atmosphere, then a 2-layer atmosphere, and finally a complex atmosphere with latent and sensible heat fluxes. With each step, students compare the modeled surface temperature to Earth's actual surface temperature, thereby providing a check on how well each increasingly complex model captures the physics of the actual system.

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