Shop Windows to the Universe

Young Voices for the Planet DVD in our online store includes 8 films where students speak out and take action on climate change.

Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe based on data from NOAA and UCSD

The Carbon Cycle Changes

Carbon moves around the Earth through the carbon cycle. It can move between the atmosphere, the water, living things, and even rocks. Today, the carbon cycle is changing. More carbon is moving into the atmosphere from other parts of the Earth. It moves into the atmosphere when fuels like coal and oil are burned. It moves into the atmosphere when forests burn too.

The carbon in the atmosphere is a part of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases keep heat in the atmosphere. With more carbon dioxide, Earth is becoming warmer.

Carbon dioxide can spend hundreds of years in the atmosphere. Over a long time, it can move slowly out of the atmosphere and into plants. The plants take the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere as they make their food from the Sunís energy. Carbon can also move into ocean water or be stored in rocks. Scientists are studying how carbon moves out of the atmosphere.

Last modified October 26, 2007 by Lisa Gardiner.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

The Winter 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, focuses on Earth System science, including articles on student inquiry, differentiated instruction, geomorphic concepts, the rock cycle, and much more!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Carbon Dioxide - CO2

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a kind of gas. There isn't that much carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere, but it is still very important. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. That means it helps trap heat coming...more

Effects of Climate Change Today

Have you ever taken your temperature to see if you are getting sick? Scientists have been taking the Earth's temperature and have found that it is getting warmer. During the past 100 years, the Earth's...more

A New Plan to Help Earthís Changing Climate

Leaders from the countries of the world are heading to Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009 to decide how the world will deal with climate change. They will make decisions about how to send less greenhouse...more

What Is Climate?

How do you know to pack your bathing suit and sunhat for a trip to a tropical island or pack warm sweaters and coats for a trip to Alaska? If you know a little about regional climates, then you know what...more

Earth's Greenhouse Gases

Only a tiny amount of the gases in Earthís atmosphere are greenhouse gases. But they have a huge effect on climate. There are several different types of greenhouse gases, but they all have something in...more

Space Missions to study Earth's Atmosphere & Climate

Some satellites study Earth from space. Some of them study our atmosphere and weather. Some take pictures of clouds. Others use special instruments to make measurements of temperature, humidity, or the...more

Modeling the Future of Climate Change

To figure out what the Earth might be like in the future, scientists need to know how Earth reacts to changes. Models help scientists to better understand how the Earth works and how it will react to climate...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF