Arctic Carbon Cycle with Aleya Kaushik

In this presentation, Dr. Aleya Kaushik, a CIRES postdoctoral fellow working on water-carbon cycle interactions at NOAA GMD, presents on the Arctic Climate Cycle.

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About the Presenter

Dr. Aleya Kaushik is a CIRES postdoctoral fellow, working on water-carbon cycle interactions at NOAA GMD. She received her PhD in Atmospheric Sciences at CU Boulder, where her thesis research focused on the use of stable water isotope tracers to look at Front Range hydroclimate through land-atmosphere interactions and boundary layer moisture recycling processes. In addition to holding Masters degrees in chemistry and oceanography, she also has a certificate in college teaching and has run NSF outreach projects at local schools.

Recommended Activities for e-Learning

Elementary – High School:
Global Ice Viewer: With this simulation from the NASA Climate website, learners explore different examples of how ice is melting due to climate change in four places where large quantities of ice are found. The photo comparisons, graphs, animations, and especially the time lapse video clips of glaciers receding are astonishing and dramatic.

Middle - High School

Search the CLEAN collection for the carbon cycle.  There are many videos and simulations that show students how carbon moves through the carbon cycle.

Climate and the Carbon Cycle: This series of Earth Labs from the CLEAN collection explores various parts of the carbon cycle,  including a plethora of background information and online data interpretation, interspersed with hands-on labs that students could work on from home.

Visualizing Carbon Pathways: This activity introduces students to visualization capabilities available through NASA's Earth Observatory, global map collection, NASA NEO and ImageJ. Using these tools, students build several animations of satellite data that illustrate carbon pathways through the Earth system.

Changing Planet: Fresh Water in the Arctic: This video from NBC Learn and NESTA documents scientists' concerns regarding how melting Arctic sea ice will increase the amount of fresh water in the Beaufort Gyre, which could spill out into the Atlantic and cause major climate shifts in North America and Western Europe. The video includes interviews with scientists and a look at the basics of how scientists measure salinity in the ocean and how ocean circulation works in the Arctic.

Modeling the Influence of Sunlight on the Release of Carbon Dioxide from Thawing Permafrost. Students will use a model to explore the relationships between sunlight and release of carbon dioxide (CO2) from thawing Arctic watersheds.  After studying the carbon cycle, students are asked to reflect on how natural phenomena – thawing of permafrost, interactions of soil microbes on dissolved carbon, and amount of sunlight – interconnect and influence the release of CO2 into the atmosphere and Arctic watershed leading to ocean waters. Students use a computer model to observe and describe these relationships.

High School:

Carbon Cycle: This activity from NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory introduces students to the scientific understanding of the greenhouse effect and the carbon cycle. The activity leads them through several interactive tasks to investigate recent trends in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Students analyze scientific data and use scientific reasoning to determine the causes responsible for these recent trends. By studying carbon cycle science in a visual and interactive manner, students can learn firsthand about the reasons behind our changing climate.

Using the IMOLD Interactive Model of Decomposition: This interactive website and lesson plan will help students gain a better understanding of carbon cycling, especially in the context of litter decomposition. Students can manipulate climate types and litter types in the interactive model, and apply concepts they have learned about carbon cycling. Students will understand that studying the decomposition part of the carbon cycle is important for understanding factors that affect climate change.

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