Climate change is at the forefront of environmental concerns and it often revolves around atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and its effect on average surface temperature. However, carbon dioxide concentration is not only rising in the atmosphere but in the ocean as well. The source of this dissolved carbon dioxide is the rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels we hear so much about, as carbon dioxide is soluble in water.
Background Information about Ozone
Ozone (O3) in our atmosphere is both good and bad. There is a helpful saying to remember is, “Ozone: good up high, bad nearby.” The “good” ozone is ozone high in our atmosphere that is part of the ozone layer. The ozone layer protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. “Bad” ozone is ozone that occurs at ground level, where it can be inhaled. Ground level ozone is a pollutant and creates smog.
Background Information on Particulate Matter
Particulate matter consists of small particles suspended in the atmosphere. Dust, pollen, sea salt, soil particles, mold, soot, smoke, and other fine substances create a mixture of particulate matter that we inhale with every breath. According to the EPA, particulate matter greater than 10 micrometers is generally filtered away in our nose and throat. Particulates less than 10 micrometers can often pass into the lungs.
Carbon dioxide circulates naturally in Earth’s atmosphere as part of the carbon cycle (the process in which carbon dioxide is exchanged between the atmosphere, oceans, soil, plants, and animals). According to the EPA, since the industrial revolution, humans have altered the carbon cycle through activities like burning fossil fuels, which adds CO2 to the cycle, and deforestation which reduces natural ways in which CO2 is removed.
Free Air Quality Lesson Plans
Bring the science of air quality into your classroom through hands-on activities, inquiry-based lessons and real science tools. These high quality lessons plans are free to download and were developed by King's University in conjunction with Telus World of Science in Edmonton.
What causes the seasons on Earth?
Weather is always changing. Humans have been dividing up the year based on these changes in weather for thousands of years. A division of a year based on weather is called a season. Different regions of the Earth have different names for seasons and different types of seasons. The most common seasonal names used are Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.
When it is cold outside, it is often thought that fans aren’t needed. However, it may be that a fan can bring warm air near the ceiling down to floor level, increasing comfort without raising the thermostat. Energy could therefore be saved.
In this experiment, students will:
1) Determine how a ceiling fan affects the temperature in a room, both near the floor and near the ceiling.
Download PDF for complete lab activity
As a hiker changes elevation during a hike, the atmospheric pressure will change. The air pressure at sea level, is vastly different than the air pressure at the top of a mountain. In some regions, it can be even be difficult for people who are not from that region to breathe, because they are not used to the changes in altitude. Using PocketLab, determine the relationship between elevation and air pressure.