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Gallery walk: Effects of humans on global C cycle

Student Directions

Gallery Walk?: Follow your teacher’s instructions to address the following questions:

 

1. We know from measurements taken in Hawaii at Manua Loa that Carbon Dioxide (CO2) 38 concentrations have increased greatly since the 1960s – from about 315 ppm to about 390 ppm now. This is of great concern because CO2 is a greenhouse gas and contributes to global warming.   Which two countries do you think are mainly responsible for this rapid increase in CO2?  What human activities do you think is responsible for this increase? Explain the process here – exactly how this activity results in CO2  going into the atmosphere. Be as specific as you can be and write down any questions you have.

 

2. When fossil fuels are burned for various uses, CO2 is released into the atmosphere.  What are fossil fuels?  Where did the C in the CO2 come from in the first place and by what biological process?  Be as specific as you can be and write down any questions you have.

 

3. This is the well know Keeling Curve named after Charles Keeling, a scientist from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography who started taking measurements of atmospheric CO2 in Hawaii in1958. Clearly atmospheric CO2 has increased during the period shown here. Explain the inserted graph in the lower right and its relationship to the main curve. Write down any questions you may have.

 

4. This graph shows yearly estimates of global flux (rate of change) of Carbon (units are Pg, Petagrams or 1,000,000,000,000,000 or 1X10 12 grams) from various sources. First, make sure you understand the graph (the axes, each category). Then interpret it. In particular, what is the “unidentified sink”? What is a carbon sink – what does this mean?  Be as specific as you can be and write down any questions you have.

Flux of CarbonFlux of Carbon

 

 

 

 

Source: http://www.whrc.org/carbon/images/Flux_of_Carbon.gif

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