In this mock mission, students become members of a research team and conduct a series of tasks to audit Earth's radiative budget. They use a Java Applet/visual viewer to access satellite data sets, calculate the balance of incoming and outgoing solar radiation, and defend their answers to a number of science questions.
Students examine data from Mauna Loa to learn about CO2 in the atmosphere. The students also examine how atmospheric CO2 changes through the seasonal cycle, by location on Earth, and over about 40 years and more specifically over 15 years. Students graph data in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere and draw conclusions about hemispherical differences in CO2 release and uptake.
In this Earth Exploration Toolbook chapter, students select, explore, and analyze satellite imagery. They do so in the context of a case study of the origins of atmospheric carbon monoxide and aerosols, tiny solid airborne particles such as smoke from forest fires and dust from desert wind storms. They use the software tool ImageJ to animate a year of monthly images of aerosol data and then compare the animation to one created for monthly images of carbon monoxide data.
Atmospheric Aerosol Properties and Climate Impacts
January 15, 2009
A detailed look at global distributions and properties of airborne particles known as "aerosols." The report examines the various ways in which aerosols influence climate, and the uncertainties in our ability to observe and measure these particles' impact on the climate system.
Climate Projections Based on Emissions Scenarios for Long-Lived and Short-Lived Radiatively Active Gases and Aerosols
September 3, 2008
An assessment of the effects of short-lived gases and particles in the atmosphere. They can significantly change regional surface temperatures. By the year 2100 short-lived gases and particles may account for as much as 40 percent of the warming over the continental U.S. in summertime.
Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences
March 31, 2006
This report addresses previously identified discrepancies between observations and simulations of surface and atmospheric temperature trends. It is an important revision to the conclusions of earlier reports from the U.S. National Research Council and the IPCC.