Hw Questions: Carbon Cycle & Global Warming
Objective: Photosynthesis and Respiration are important processes for balancing
essential materials within the Earth's atmosphere. You have already reviewed the
relationship between the two processes by discussing how photosynthesis and
respiration compliment each other. In this exercise, you will apply that relationship
globally to help understand the global carbon cycle.
Carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the universe, and it is an essential
compound in living things. Because of its chemical properties, it helps form the complex
organic compounds (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids) that make up all
living things. In addition, carbon based compounds provide the energy source that fuels
most of the activities of humankind.
The balance (equilibrium) of materials in the earth's atmosphere has become skewed
due to activities of human beings. You will further investigate this imbalance of the
carbon cycle and research its ramifications and future projections.
Textbook, p 55 – 59 (cycles in nature)
Textbook, p 388 – 393 (cell evolution and changes in earth)
On-line sites (attached to course web page and listed on this document.
Part I: The Carbon Cycle
Directions: Research and take notes on the Carbon Cycle by reading p 55 - 59 in your
textbooks and research the carbon cycle using websites:
Answer the following questions and complete the following tasks on a separate paper.
1. Sketch a diagram of the carbon cycle.
2. Carbon is found in many different compounds in nature. What are the names of
the main carbon compounds involved in the carbon cycle?
3. In what compounds in living things is carbon stored?
4. What form does carbon take: within the earth's crust? Within the soil? Within the
Part II: Global Warming & CO2 Emissions
Directions: Research Global Warming by researching websites. Answer the following
questions and complete the following tasks.
1. What were the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 in the years 1900, 1950, 1960,
1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000? How has the temperature of the globe changed in
that time span?
2. Why have these concentrations changed over the last century?
3. Calculate the rate of change of CO2 levels over the past century. Use as units
ppm / year.
4. Discuss the relationship between CO2 and heat and temperature.
5. Why would concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere increase during the winter
months, but decrease during the spring and summer months?
6. Name three other "greenhouse gasses".
7. How would deforestation and burning effect CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
Part III: Data & Graphing
Complete the data table and plot a graph (use graphical analysis, logger pro, or
excel) showing changes in CO2 concentrations from 1900 - 2000. Project the graph
to the year 2050 (assume the rate does not change). When you project, use a linear
fit and a quadratic fit.
Year ppm of CO2 in Atmosphere
Carbon Cycle & Global Warming
http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/C/CarbonCycle.html - Explains
the carbon cycle and global warming.
http://library.thinkquest.org/11226/why.htm?tqskip1=1&tqtime=1119 - This site on
the carbon cycle pays particular attention to carbon in living things in discussing
proteins and carbohydrates
http://whrc.org/carbon/index.htm - Carbon Cycle explanation from the Woods
http://www.cotf.edu/ete/modules/carbon/efcarbon.html - Carbon Cycle
explanation from "Earth on Fire"
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Library/CarbonCycle/ - This site describes the
different processes of the carbon cycle from the Earth Observatory.
http://www.gcrio.org/CONSEQUENCES/vol4no1/carbcycle.html - The Carbon
Cycle, Climate, And The Long-Term Effects of Fossil Fuel Burning. Written as an
Essay for Consequences and published from the US Global Change Research
http://www.gcrio.org/gwcc/part1.html - Relates Climate Change Human Activities
http://www.pa.msu.edu/~sciencet/ask_st/083194.html - carbon dioxide & global
Carbon Dioxide Monitoring
http://www.elmhurst.edu/~chm/vchembook/globalwarmA3.html - CO2 atmospheric
http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/emis/em_cont.htm - Tables of CO2 emissions
http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/pns/current_ghg.html - Current and past greenhouse gas
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide - Info about carbon dioxide
http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/co2/sio-mlo.htm - This site contains excellent
data that measures atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide from the
monitoring site at Mauna Loa, Hawaii.
http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/pns/faq.html - CO2 Information Analysis
Governmental Organizations & NGO's
http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/index.htm - The Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (2007 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize). Scientific Basis for Climate
http://www.wmo.ch/pages/themes/WMO_climatechange_en.html - World Meteorology
Organzation Page on Climate Change
http://www.unep.org/themes/climatechange/ - United Nations Environmental Programme
Page on Climate Change
http://yosemite.epa.gov/oar/globalwarming.nsf/content/index.html - This is the Global
Warming site published by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html - This site on Global Warming
is published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the
http://uspirg.org/uspirg.asp?id2=5235&id3=USPIRG& - U.S. PIRG info about global