This lesson explores the chemistry of some of the greenhouse gases that affect Earth's climate. Third in a series of 9 lessons from an online module entitled 'Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change'.

In this activity, students learn how carbon cycles through the Earth system by playing an online game.

This is a multi-faceted activity that offers students a variety of opportunities to learn about permafrost and the role of methane in thawing permafrost.

This is a figure from the 2007 IPCC Assessment Report 4 on atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide over the last 10,000 years (large panels) and since 1750 (inset panels).

This video highlights the work of climate scientists in the Amazon who research the relationship between deforestation, construction of new dams, and increased amounts of greenhouse gases being exchanged between the biosphere and the atmosphere.

In this activity, students use a physical model to learn the basics of photosynthesis and respiration within the carbon cycle.

This video contains a visualization and explanation of the Arctic sea ice and how it has changed over the 25 years. In September 2012, the National Snow and Ice Data Center recorded the lowest extent of Arctic sea ice. The video discusses the climate importance of ice thickness, reflective properties, and self-reinforcing feedback mechanisms.

In this lab activity, students use a chemical indicator (bromothymol blue) to detect the presence of carbon dioxide in animal and plant respiration and in the burning of fossil fuels and its absence in the products of plant photosynthesis. After completing the five parts of this activity, students compare the colors of the chemical indicator in each part and interpret the results in terms of the qualitative importance of carbon sinks and sources.

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

This Flash-based simulation explores the relationship between carbon emissions and atmospheric carbon dioxide using two main displays: (1) graphs that show the level of human-generated CO2 emissions, CO2 removals, and the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, and (2) a bathtub animation that shows the same information as the graphs. The bathtub simulation illustrates the challenges of reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

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