Global Warming  Elmhurst College
Carbon Dioxide & Temperature Carbon Dioxide - Fossil Fuels  Chemistry Department
Carbon Dioxide - Atmosphere Greenhouse Gases    Virtual ChemBook


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Carbon Dioxide Concentration and Temperature

Carbon Dioxide Concentration in Ice Cores:

The snow near the surface of the ice sheet is like a sponge with channels of air between the snow grains. As more and more snow is accumulated on top, the underlying snow is compressed into ice and the air forms bubbles in the ice. Ice cores therefore can be analyzed not just for the chemical and physical properties of the ice, but also for the properties of the air trapped in the ice. These bubbles are actual samples of the atmosphere from thousands of years ago. Concentrations of carbon dioxide measured in the air bubbles trapped in the ice are shown in the figure on the left.


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Correlation of dust, temperature, carbon dioxide, and methane.

Key: Top line - dust
line 2 - temperature
line 3 - carbon dioxide
line 5 - methane

Note the opposite effect of dust and temperature, the more dust the lower the temperature.

With carbon dioxide and methane, the correlation is increase carbon dioxide and methane, increase the temperature.

QUES. a:. Correlate and discuss similarities and differences (look at peaks and valleys) in the the overall shapes of the carbon dioxide curve with the curve for temperature versus time? Be specific in relating concentration of carbon dioxide as a predictor of temperature.


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Antarctic ice core from Law Dome near Australia's Casey Station. Concentration of Carbon Dioxide from trapped air measurements for the DE08 ice core near the summit of Law Dome, Antarctica.

(Data measured by CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research from ice cores supplied by Australian Antarctic Division). Dr. T.H. Jacka, Glaciology Program,Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre and Australian Antarctic Division.

A closer look at the carbon dioxide changes within the last thousand years can be seen in the graphic on the left. The concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, were measured in the bubbles from an Antarctic ice core from Law Dome near Australia's Casey Station. The Law Dome ice core is at a location where the snow accumulation is much higher than at Vostok. Thus, the time scale for the Law Dome core is expanded and it can provide us with more detailed information about recent climate changes, though it can not go back in time as far as the deeper Vostok ice core.

QUES. b: Explain what is significant about the change in carbon dioxide concentration with time as viewed in the figure on the left.
Also compare with temperature trends on the first page - Global Warming

Overall QUESTION: What is the evidence that temperature and carbon dioxide concentrations are correlated?
Write 1-3 paragraphs which summarize your findings from Global Warming and that also summarize the information in the graphs on this page.