Using a Mass Balance Model to Understand Carbon Dioxide and its Connection to Global Warming
- Use a model to estimate the future concentrations of carbon dioxide under several different assumed emission scenarios.
- Learn how different carbon dioxide emission scenarios influence our best prediction of future global temperatures.
- Learn how a mass balance model applies to the global atmosphere.
- Calibrate a model with recent observations.
- Synthesis results into a well written summary.
- Accurately read graphical information.
- Read and interpolate data from a table of values.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
The activity and related links are available on-line at http://www.atmosedu.com/physlets/GlobalPollution/carbon_dioxideQS.htm (archived). This activity works best with a PC, but with proper configuration also works on MAC OS X.
Assignment Question Sheet (Microsoft Word 125kB Jun3 11) for use with online activity.
Assignment Question Sheet (Acrobat (PDF) 95kB Jun3 11) for use with online activity.
Teaching Notes and Tips
Answers to questions (Acrobat (PDF) 386kB Jun3 11)
Follow up discussions in lecture and exam questions are also useful in assessing student understanding.
References and Resources
- Carbon dioxide and life (Acrobat (PDF) 240kB Jul16 04) is a short activity intended to have students closely examine the recent carbon dioxide record.
- What is the fate of CO2 produced by fossil fuel combustion? is an excellent activity related to the carbon cycle for more advanced students.
- Chlorofluorocarbon CFC-12 is a similar modeling activity where students explore chlorofluorocarbon (CFC-12) build-up in the atmosphere.