Carbon dioxide is everywhere: in the air, rising from cracks in the ocean floor, and in your soda can. Now it's showing up in the news! Find out why carbon dioxide is such a hot topic, and why it's going to be around for a long, long time.

 The Sun is the main source of power for the Earth's climate machine. Space-based measurements, begun in 1978, indicate Earth receives an average of 1,361 W/m<sup>2</sup> of incoming sunlight, and the amount varies by about one-tenth of a percent over the course of the 11-year solar cycle. 

Human activities, mainly burning fossil fuels, are increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, amplifying the natural greenhouse effect.

Students explore the carbon cycle and the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature. Students create and compare graphs of carbon dioxide and temperature data from one local (Mauna Loa, Hawaii) meteorological station and one NASA global data set. These graphs, as well as a global vegetation map and an atmospheric wind circulation patterns diagram, are used as evidence to support the scientific claims they develop through their analysis and interpretation.

This is the first of nine lessons in the "Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change" website. This lesson is an introduction to Earth's climate and covers key principles regarding Earth's unique climate, atmosphere, and regional and temporal climate differences.

In this activity students learn how Earth's energy balance is regulating climate. This activity is lesson 4 in the nine-lesson module Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change.

This activity covers the role that the oceans may play in climate change and how climate change may affect the oceans. It is lesson 8 in a nine-lesson module Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change.

This engaging activity introduces students to the concept of albedo and how albedo relates to Earth's energy balance.

In this activity, students analyze data detailing global energy sources and sinks (uses) and construct a diagram to show the relative scale and the connections between them. Discussions of scale; historical, socio-environmental, and geographic variation in this data; and implications for future energy use are included.