Carbon Dioxide & Climate Change


HS-ESS2-6 Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.

HS-LS2-5 Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.

HS-PS1-6 Refine the design of a chemical system by specifying a change in conditions that would produce increased amounts of products at equilibrium

Engineering Design

Carbon dioxide properties - investigations

See Carbon Dioxide videos for all of the following
  • Carbon Dioxide and combustion - Mix vinegar and baking soda in a container and wait for the bubbling to slow down or cease.  Carbon dioxide is released in this reaction.  Gently pour the carbon dioxide gas onto a lit candle which is in a beaker. 
NaHCO3(s) + CH3COOH(l) → CO2(g) + H2O(l) + Na+(aq) + CH3COO-(aq)
  • Release of carbon dioxide from limestone- Place dilute hydrochloric acid on limestone (calcium carbonate) and observe the carbon dioxide bubbles that are produced. Carlsbad CavernsAcid Test
2HCl(aq)   +   CaCO3(s)             CaCl2(aq)     +      CO2(g)   +    H2O(l)
  • Acidification and coral bleaching - Put drops of concentrated carbonic acid on coral and observe the bubbling and release of carbon dioxide
  • Capturing carbon dioxide - Add Alka-Seltzer to water in a flask and capture the carbon dioxide in a balloon.  Compare the speed that the carbon dioxide balloon falls relative to one filled with air.
  • Carbon dioxide and pH - Put a couple drops of phenolphthalein indicator in a flask of dilute (.01M) NaOH.  The fluid should turn pink, indicating the presence of hydroxide ions.  Using a straw, blow into the flask until the pink color disappears.  What affect dos carbon dioxide have upon the pH of the solution?
CO2 + H2O  →  H2CO → H+ + HCO3-
  • Carbon dioxide and pH -  Put a few drops of bromthymol blue into a flask of water.  At pH 7, the color will be blue, but at pH 6, it turns yellow.  Add an Alka Seltzer tab to show how carbonation reduces the pH of the water.
  • Carbonation - Measure the pH of carbonated water vs un-carbonated water.  Record the pH of fresh carbonated water vs. flat carbonated water that has been left to set out for some time. Watch carbonation (movie)
  • Photosynthesis
6 CO2 + 6 H2O → C6H12O6 + 6 O2  (photosynthesis)
  • Respiration
C6H12O6 + 6O2  → 6CO2 + 6H2O + 2900 kJ/mol (respiration)
  • What properties does carbon dioxide have?  Enter your observations in the quickwrite as instructed by your teacher.

Carbon Dioxide & Climate Change

    Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colorless and odorless gas vital to life on Earth. Carbon dioxide exists in Earth's atmosphere as a trace gas at a concentration of about 0.04 percent (400 ppm) by volume. Natural sources include volcanoes, hot springs and geysers, and it is freed from carbonate rocks by dissolution in water and acids. Carbon dioxide is soluble in water, and occurs naturally in groundwater, rivers, lakes, ice caps, glaciers and also in seawater.

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution around 1750, we have been adding substantial amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (such as methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases) to the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases trap infrared radiation in the atmosphere, which makes the Earth warmer. 

Personalization - Carbon Dioxide, you and your community

Visualization of a metric ton of carbon dioxide

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