# plotting carbon dioxide

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In-Class CO2 Activity: Randy RichardsonDepartment of GeosciencesUniversity of Arizona

Online Workshop About Teaching Climate Science

11 May 2012

See also: http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/interactive/examples/co2.html

Objective of Activity:

Students will be able to use real CO2 data to measure rates of CO2 increase over time.

Background Information:

CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) is a trace greenhouse gas that is strongly correlated with global temperatures the more CO2 in the atmosphere, the warmer Earths atmosphere and surface become because of the ability of CO2 to absorb some of Earths outgoing infrared radiation.

The slope of a line in a graph is the ratio of the rise (the Y-axis) over the run (the X-axis), and has units of the rise axis over the run axis. For example, if a graph has time (hours) as the X-axis and distance (miles) as the Y-axis, then a line will have slope of miles/hour, or speed.Overview of the Activity:

Student groups plot 8 CO2 values from Mauna Loa, HI, from 2005 to 2011 on a graph provided, using randomly selected data on next slide.

Today you will each plot one of 38 randomly selected data points from this data set.

As a group we will estimate the slope (rate) of the best line through our 31 data points.

(Students calculate the # of years for CO2 levels to double at the rate theyve found.)

(Students learn about incomplete data.)

July2005JulyJulyJuly2006200720082009201020112012JulyJulyJuly375377376378380386392391390389388387384383395382379381394385393CO2 Concentration (ppm)DataPointsSlope = ______ ppmJuly2005JulyJulyJuly2006200720082009201020112012JulyJulyJuly375377376378380386392391390389388387384383395382379381394385393CO2 Concentration (ppm)Slope = _2.2_ ppmGroup # __1__ 393.4378.0Slope = (393.4-378.0) (2010-2003) = 15.4/7 = 2.2 Sharing your results:

Hopefully you were able to plot your data points .

Did the data set we plotted look very noisy?

Any ideas why?

(Incomplete data )

Lets look at the data sets a little more closely http://bluemoon.ucsd.edu/pub/cdrg/continuous/monthly_mlo.csv

CO2 Activity: Your reactions? Done anything similar? What works well? What doesnt work? How might you modify the exercise for your setting? Other comments?