This activity from NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory introduces students to the current scientific understanding of the greenhouse effect and the carbon cycle. The activity leads them through several interactive tasks investigating recent trends in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Students analyze scientific data and use scientific reasoning to determine the causes responsible for these recent trends. By studying carbon cycle science in a visual and interactive manner, the activity provides students with a conceptual framework with which to address the challenges of a changing climate.

Students consider why the observed atmospheric CO2 increase rate is only ~60% of the CO2 loading rate due to fossil fuel combustion. They develop a box-model to simulate the atmospheric CO2 increase during the industrial era and compare it to the historic observations of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. The model is then used to forecast future concentrations of atmospheric CO2 during the next century.

This activity uses geophysical and geochemical data to determine climate in Central America during the recent past and to explore the link between climate (wet periods and drought) and population growth/demise among the Maya. Students use ocean drilling data to interpret climate and to consider the influence of climate on the Mayan civilization.

This short video describes the Hestia project - a software tool and data model that provide visualizations of localized CO2 emissions from residential, commercial, and vehicle levels, as well as day versus night comparisons, in the city of Indianapolis.

This Motions of the Sun Lab is an interactive applet from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Astronomy Applet project.

This straightforward calculator provides conversions from one unit of energy to the equivalent amount of CO2 emission expected from using that amount.

In this video, students see how data from the ice core record is used to help scientists predict the future of our climate. Video features ice cores extracted from the WAIS Divide, a research station on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

This humorous video suggests what might happen if a weather forecaster reported the weather in the context of climate change. There is a sharp contrast between the anchor focusing on short-term local concerns and the weather forecaster describing what is happening on a long-term global basis.

This animation shows predicted changes in temperature across the globe, relative to pre-industrial levels, under two different emissions scenarios in the COP 17 climate model. The first is with emissions continuing to increase through the century. The second is with emissions declining through the century.

In this activity, students conduct a life cycle assessment of energy used and produced in ethanol production, and a life cycle assessment of carbon dioxide used and produced in ethanol production.