S63 Carbon dioxide fluctuations due to weather and the diurnal and annual changes in the environment

Sunday, 23 January 2011
Kenneth J. Davis, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; and S. Richardson and B. L. Twiest

This study aims to examine the fluctuations of atmospheric carbon dioxide in a small city and inside a building and explain these fluctuations to visitors to a university museum. My work involves constructing a machine that will sample the amount of carbon dioxide in the air at once per second and setting up a museum exhibit to explain the machine and the impacts carbon dioxide has on our environment. We have built and calibrated the machine, and are in the process of installing it in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum and Art Gallery on campus. We anticipate the observation of daily cycles of carbon dioxide both indoors and outdoors due to the presence of people indoors and photosynthesis, respiration, and automobile traffic outdoors. We also anticipate an accumulation of data that will show an annual cycle of carbon dioxide fluctuation, as well as a global rate of accumulation. We also expect to observe the effects of weather on carbon dioxide levels. Our results (displayed in real-time in the museum) will serve to educate the community regarding carbon dioxide, how it is measured, and how the earth's ecosystems and humans contribute to the carbon cycle.
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