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Atmospheric CO 2 & Temperature – what is normal?. Presented by Julie Brigham-Grette and Beth Caissie. July 2010. CO 2 and Temperature—What is Normal?. Concepts to Address before you begin Climate vs. Weather Greenhouse Gasses The Carbon Cycle Play the game?

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Atmospheric CO2 & Temperature –

what is normal?

Presented by

Julie Brigham-Grette and Beth Caissie

July 2010

Co 2 and temperature what is normal
CO2 and Temperature—What is Normal?

  • Concepts to Address before you begin

    • Climate vs. Weather

    • Greenhouse Gasses

    • The Carbon Cycle

      • Play the game?

      • Photosynthesis and Decomposition

  • Concepts to grasp During the Activity

    • How much of a change in CO2 concentration and other GHGs is natural?

    • What is the normal range of CO2 and temperature variability? How is normal defined in this context?

    • What is the relationship between CO2 and global temperatures?

Seasonal changes cause up/downs in CO2 in the atmosphere

Especially driven by Northern Hemisphere. Spring - photosynthesis drops CO2, Fall - decomposition causes increase in CO2

Monitoring of CO2 and other Greenhouse gases around the world

All get similar measurements


Global view co2 http www esrl noaa gov gmd ccgg globalview co2 co2 intro html
Global View CO2

Drilling in greenland
Drilling in Greenland

Video podcast

from Polar Palooza

Matt Nolan, UAF

Fossil air!

Trapped in the ice; records past atmosphere

Summit Station, Greenland photo by Michael Morrison, GISP2 SMO, University of New Hampshire; NOAA Paleoslide SetCore: Eric Cravens, Assistant Curator, U.S. National Ice Core Laboratory;

Raynaud, 1992

Gases within bubbles = fossil atmospheric air

Firn-ice transition

• Depth of transition depends on surface

temperature and accumulation rate

• Camp Century, Greenland:

~68 m below ice sheet surface

• Vostok, Antarctica:

~100 m below ice sheet surface

Low precip. and cold = long time to make ice

High precip. and warm =short time to make ice


Defining amplitude, frequency, periodicity

Defining Normal?

Understanding the relationship between Greenhouse gases and temperature.

Classroom options:

Plot by hand on graph paper,

Plot on computer using Excel

Overlay Temperature on CO2

Instructions for Excel on website

Oxygen (8 protons)

16O 17O 18O

99.8% 0.04% 0.2%

Hydrogen (1 proton)

1H 2H (Deuterium) 3H (tritium) 99.98% 0.016% (bombs)

So, can make 9 isotopic combinations of H2O,

e.g., 18 (1H216O) to 22 (2H218O)

“light water” “heavy water”

In paleoclimate studies…1H1H16O to 1H218O

General Equation:

18O = 18O/16O sample - 18O/16O standard x 1000

18O/16O standard

Expressed in per mille (0/00)

Negative values = lower ratios = isotopically lighter

(less 18O than 16O)

Positive values = higher ratios = isotopically heavier

(more 18O than 16O)

d18O isotopic depletion





Evaporation of more 16O

Ice Sheet




In Sea In Ice

Glacials = enriched 18O depleted 18O

Interglacials = depleted 18O enriched 18O

dD isotopic depletion

depends on temp of source area,

Distance and processes during precipitation

Ice Sheet


Isotopic ratios are used to model temperature, at Vostok; empirically this is roughly:

Temperature (deg-C) = -55.5 + (δD + 440) / 6

See also