Mauna Loa in the Classroom uses real data sets from collection sites in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Students are able to graph data and interpret results to understand trends in CO2 in the atmosphere from 1985-2000.
Seasonal cycles of growth and decay affect the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere CO2 release and uptake in different ways. The northern hemisphere has more plant material. The atmosphere is well mixed in each hemisphere. Sites from Greenland to Hawaii show similar values and trends.
This lesson provides teachers with an opportunity to discussing weather vs. climate; air circulation around the globe; seasonal affects; and use and interpretation of scientific data bases.