Educational Resources

CZ Science 4. Land-atmosphere exchange

A Pennsylvania cliff, illustrating a cross section of the Critical Zone with trees, soil, and bedrock.
A Pennsylvania cliff, illustrating a cross section of the Critical Zone with trees, soil, and bedrock.
This module analyzes how energy and carbon flow through the CZ and how they drive CZ processes. Learn how to analyze data and use simple models to interpret spatial and temporal trends in energy flow to answer questions about CZ processes. This module is part of a CZ Science course hosted by SERC.

Grades 15 - 16
Climatology/Meteorology • Hydrology • SoilScience/Pedology
Curriculum


Educational Objectives

By the end of this module students will be able to:

  • Trace primary radiative forcings through the Critical Zone using data derived from a CZO field site.
  • Use CZO micro meteorological data to describe the differences between the main atmospheric fluxes at each CZO site.
  • Relate carbon flux data collected at various scales to understand the regional exchange of carbon at a CZO site.
  • Analyze how energy, carbon, and nutrients flow through the Critical Zone and drive Critical Zone processes.

More on this module's objectives can be found here.

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Audience
Higher Education


Observatory: National CZO

Author(s): Jim Washburne (The University of Arizona)


Contact(s):


Funding: InTeGrate: Interdisciplinary Teaching about Earth for a Sustainable Future Banner, Critical Zone Science

Related Resource(s):


Details for this Resource

The two units of this module follow a similar structure (introduction, data exploration, data analysis, and synthesis) to facilitate student and teacher use. Many of the activities include fact-based queries but also include the construction of various graphs. The main summative activity is at the end of the second unit where the students must construct a testable hypothesis linking ecosystem function with energy and carbon fluxes.

  • Unit 4.1: Energy Budgets (Two 75 min class sessions)
    • Analyze energy flux data collected at a CZO site of interest and calculate reference ET.
  • Unit 4.2 Carbon Budgets (Two 75 min class sessions)
    • Analyze carbon flux data collected at an Ameriflux site of interest to better understand the regional exchange of carbon.