Interactives & Models

Carbon Connections has a variety of interactives that will help you model parts of the carbon cycle and climate on Earth. Links for examples from the three units are shown below.

Unit 1: Carbon & Climate in the Past

Atmospheric CO2 Spike Experiment

Spike Experiment

Spike Experiment LAUNCH »

Climate scientists use global climate models (GCMs) to simulate how various climate forcings can account for changes in Earth's climate. In this interactive, use results from a GCM to test how a spike in atmospheric CO2 levels could affect average global temperature, average sea ice cover, and atmospheric water vapor.

Global Climate Records

Pollen Indicator

Pollen Indicator LAUNCH »

Scientists use various types of records to understand the rates of change in Earth's past climates, and the climate connections in the Earth system. Use this interactive to compare climate data from around Earth, and investigate whether they indicate the same patterns of past climate change.

Unit 2: Carbon Now

Rate-Limiting Fixing Factors

RLF Viewer


In the biosphere, the rates of primary productivity are controlled by several factors. In this interactive, use NASA satellite data to test and compare rate-limiting factors for productivity in several regions of the world's oceans.

Mauna Loa CO2 Record

Mauna Loa Biosphere

Mauna Loa Biosphere LAUNCH »

Many life or earth science texts show the record of atmospheric CO2 from Mauna Loa, and explain in a paragraph or two what it means. This interactive model lets you manipulate and work to balance the biologic (e.g., photosynthesis, respiration) and human processes that replicate the observed CO2 record.

Unit 3: Carbon in the Future & You

Climate Model

Climate Model

Empirical Climate Model LAUNCH »

Scientists use climate models to test factors that can result in a change in Earth's mean temperature. Using global data sets with monthly resolution, you will adjust variables in this empirical climate model to test the degree to which natural and human influences can account for observed global temperatures from 1979-2010.

Predicting Future Climate: The Global Carbon Budget

Global Carbon Budget

Global Carbon Budget LAUNCH »

In this interactive, manipulate the future sources and sinks of carbon to estimate the atmospheric CO2 levels and global temperatures in the future. (From The University of Wisconsin—Madison)

Carbon Calculator

Carbon Calculator

Carbon Calculator LAUNCH »

Use this model to test how energy used in your home connects to carbon. (From the Nature Conservancy)