Classroom/Laboratory Activity: Reconstruction of Paleoclimate by Using Isotopic Composition Data

A classroom/laboratory activity to learn about the isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen, analyze the isotopic composition of ice, and understand how isotopic compositions can be used to recreate past temperatures and climate.

Students will plot graphs to analyze data from the Vostok ice core in Antarctica, learn about the ice age and the gas age, calculate past temperatures using hydrogen isotope data, and discuss the possible impacts of changes in carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) concentrations on climate.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. How can you use hydrogen isotope data in an ice core to determine temperature?
  2. How can the isotopic composition of air bubbles in ice cores be used to recreate past climate?

About the Tool

Tool Name Lab: Vostok Ice Core
Discipline Chemistry, Earth Sciences
Topic(s) in Discipline Isotopes, Isotopic Ratios, Isotopic Composition in paleoclimate reconstructions, Atomic Number, Atomic Mass
Climate Topic Climate and the Cryosphere, Climate Variability Record
Type of Tool Laboratory Activity
Grade Level Undergraduate
Location Antarctica
Vostok Station
Language English
Translation
Developed by  Stephanie Pfirman, Barnard College
Hosted at Columbia University: The Climate System course taught by Peter Schlosser, Stephanie Pfirman, Mingfang Ting, Jason Smerdon
Link Link
Access Online, Offline
Computer Skills Intermediate

Teaching Module: Analyzing Climate Science Data through Simple Statistical Techniques

A teaching module that demonstrates the use of linear and quadratic regression to analyze Arctic sea ice extent data and the use of graphs, sample correlations, and multiple regression to analyze atmospheric CO2 level data, solar irradiance data, and average global temperature data.

Data Visualization of GHG Emissions

CAIT Climate Data Explorer by World Resources Institute (WRI) showcases the world’s top greenhouse gas-emitting countries with the latest global data available till the year 2013. This interactive chart can be used to explore it by country and by economic sector, showing how the top emitters have changed in recent years.

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Tool Name World’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions
DisciplineEnvironmental Sciences
Topic(s) in DisciplineGreenhouse gas emissions
Climate TopicClimate variability record, The Greenhouse Effect
Type of ToolData Visualization
Grade LevelHigh school, Undergraduate
LocationGlobal
LanguageEnglish
Translation 
Developed byGraphic by Johannes Friedrich based on work by Duncan Clark, Kiln, Mike Bostock and Jason Davies, Jamie Cotta.
Data by the World Resources Institute (WRI)
Hosted atCAIT Climate Data Explorer
Link https://www.wri.org/blog/2017/04/interactive-chart-explains-worlds-top-10-emitters-and-how-theyve-changed
AccessOnline
Computer SkillsBasic