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Tools and Data

In this Section


Microsoft Excel: A spreadsheet application is needed to analyze the data. Microsoft Excel is used in this lesson and is available as part of Microsoft Office. Excel is part of the suite of Microsoft Office software. Students and educators may be able to purchase this software at a reduced cost. The Student and Home Edition is sufficient for use in this unit.


EdGCM, a powerful modeling program, was used in the collection of data, but will not be used in the lesson. Developed by scientists at NASA, it can model future global conditions based on various inputs: carbon dioxide data, nitrous oxide data, CFC data, methane data, and solar conditions. From it one can extract temperature data, evaporation data, precipitation data and much more. A 30-day free trial is available here.

Global Historical and Future Emissions Data

The global data are from the IPCC’s AR4 scenario data page8 . These emissions are what they predicted carbon emissions will be in a certain scenario. The scenario used (A1G MINICAM) simply means that in this scenario, the efficiency with which fossil fuels can be obtained increases, and the use of unconventional sources of energy rise towards the end of the 21st century. MINICAM is the modeling program used to predict these emissions.

Global Annual Modeled Temperature Data

This data sheet is obtained directly from models run in EdGCM. Each year is averaged using daily data points. Then, the global average data point was extracted from each data sheet for each year. This was done for 50 years’ worth of data, for all 6 scenarios. MATLAB was used in the extraction and analysis process. 

Other Resources:

Carbon source and sink data: Galen McKinley. Carbon and Climate Applet Data. 6 2011.

Climate Change Scenarios: IPCC story lines, models, downscaling. 7 2011.

Princeton University Carbon Mitigation Initiative. 2011. 7 2011 <>.

1 New York State Climate Action Council. 8 2011 <>.

2 7 2011 <>.

Decision -/CP.15. Conference of the Parties. Copenhagen, 2009.

4 James Hansen, Makiko Sato, Pushker Kharecha, David Beerling, Robert Berner,Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Mark Pagani, Maureen Raymo, Dana L. Royer and James C. Zachos. "Target atmospheric CO2: Where should humanity aim?" Open Atmos. Sci. J. vol. 2 (2008): 217-231.

5 Rockstrom, Johan, et al. "A Safe Operating Space for Humanity." Nature v 461 (2009): 472-475.

6 Rockstrom, Johan, et al. "A Safe Operating Space for Humanity." Nature v 461 (2009): 472-475.

7 Global Surface Temperature Anomalies. 5 2011. 6 8 2011 <>.

8 SRES Final Data. 6 2011 <>.