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'.

This is a series of 5 guided-inquiry activities that examine data and models that climate scientists use to attempt to answer the question of Earth's future climate.

This activity uses two interactive simulations to illustrate climate change, 1) at the micro/molecular level - modeling the impact of increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere on surface temperature and 2) at the macro level - modeling changes in glacier thickness and flow as a result of rising surface temperature.

This activity utilizes a PhET greenhouse gas simulation to explore the interaction of different atmospheric gases with different types of radiation.

This is an interactive table with a comprehensive list of 29 greenhouse gases, their molecular structures, a chart showing a time series of their atmospheric concentrations (at several sampling sites), their global warming potential (GWP) and their atmospheric lifetimes. References are given to the data sets that range from the mid-1990s to 2008.

In this short, hands-on activity, students build simple molecular models of 4 atmospheric gases (O2, N2, C02, and methane), compare their resonant frequencies, and make the connection between resonant frequency and the gas's ability to absorb infrared radiation.

In this experiment, students 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 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.

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 is a jigsaw activity in which students are assigned to research one step out of five in the geochemical process stages of the organic carbon cycle. Students then teach their step in cross-step groups until everyone understands all five process stages.

This activity involves plotting and comparing monthly data on atmospheric C02 concentrations over two years, as recorded in Mauna Loa and the South Pole, and postulating reasons for differences in their seasonal patterns. Longer-term data is then examined for both sites to see if seasonal variations from one site to the other carry over into longer term trends.

Pages