Session 9. Stability and Change in Global Atmospheric Carbon

In this session, participants gain experience with the difficult task of narrowing a topic area down to a more focused question. They also learn strategies to identify the best-fit line and calculate annual rate of change, and why those are important scientific skills to have when interpreting data. In the process, they learn about the strategies and practice the skills needed to access, download, process and plot online data and to overcome the associated challenges. Participants explore data on different spatial scales by comparing global atmospheric CO2 collected at Mauna Loa, HI (i.e. the Keeling Curve) with measurements of CO2 and pH collected in Washington State and recognize that global change is evident in localized places. They come to understand that data can be used to reveal both small-spatial scale and global patterns; carbon dioxide is increasing over time and this is observed in the atmosphere and waters; and scientists think about global patterns using proxies. Finally, they discuss how the crosscutting concepts of stability and change; and scale, proportion and quantity were incorporated into the design of the session experiences. They also brainstorm what makes for good quality data, and reliable sources to obtain data.