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

Carbon dioxide properties - investigatios

  • 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
2HCl(aq)   +   CaCO3(s)             CaCl2(aq)     +      CO2(g)   +    H2O(l)
  • 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-
  • 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)
  • 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. Observe historic trends.

Seasonal Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide concentration

Yearly Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentration

carbon footprint is "the total set of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event, product or person."[1] Greenhouse gases can be emitted through transport, land clearance, and the production and consumption of food, fuels, manufactured goods, materials, wood, roads, buildings, and services.[2] For simplicity of reporting, it is often expressed in terms of the amount ocarbon dioxide, or its equivalent of other GHGs, emitted. (Source: Wikipedia). See Vocabulary.

Data Entry

Mapping Greenhouse Gas Production

  1. Locate a large greenhouse gas producer near you.  Determine the amount of greenhouse gasses released annually. (Source:  Environmental Protection Agency). Enter the value in the Quickwrite 
  2. Compare the Greenhouse gas production of various counties or states using the  EPA Flight.  You wil want to plot the amount produced by various sectors (power plants, refineries, etc.) 
  3. EPA learning activity
  4. EPA Carbon Dioxide monitoring
  5. Enter your findings in the quickwrite provided by your instructor
  6. Review World Trends on Carbon Dioxide Emissions (Gapminder).  How does your carbon footprint compare with the average carbon footprint of other Americans?  How does it compare with the carbon footprint of Haitians? (Haiti is the poorest country in the western Hemisphere)

Visualization of a metric ton of carbon dioxide

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