The Sun is the main source of power for the Earth's climate machine. Space-based measurements, begun in 1978, indicate Earth receives an average of 1,361 W/m<sup>2</sup> of incoming sunlight, and the amount varies by about one-tenth of a percent over the course of the 11-year solar cycle. 

Human activities, mainly burning fossil fuels, are increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, amplifying the natural greenhouse effect.

This engaging activity introduces students to the concept of albedo and how albedo relates to Earth's energy balance.

In this activity, students analyze data detailing global energy sources and sinks (uses) and construct a diagram to show the relative scale and the connections between them. Discussions of scale; historical, socio-environmental, and geographic variation in this data; and implications for future energy use are included.

Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis

On September 27, 2013, Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented its report to member governments for approval and acceptance. The report is the first of four that will make up the IPCC's 5th Assessment.

National Solar Radiation Database

The National Solar Radiation Database contains 30 years (1961-1990) of solar radiation and supplementary meteorological data, and hourly solar radiation and meteorological data for 237 National Weather Service sites in the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Also includes maps of the monthly amounts of solar power that could be generated with various solar collectors.

In this hands-on lesson, students measure the effect of distance and inclination on the amount of heat felt by an object and apply this experiment to building an understanding of seasonality. In Part 1, the students set up two thermometers at different distances from a light bulb and record their temperatures to determine how distance from a heat source affects temperature.

Students perform a lab to explore how the color of materials at the Earth's surface affect the amount of warming. Topics covered include developing a hypothesis, collecting data, and making interpretations to explain why dark colored materials become hotter.

This activity teaches students about the albedo of surfaces and how it relates to the ice-albedo feedback effect. During an experiment, students observe the albedo of two different colored surfaces by measuring the temperature change of a white and black surface under a lamp.

Students will use real satellite data to determine 1) where the greatest concentrations of aerosols are located during the course of a year in the tropical Atlantic region and 2) their source of origin. This is an inquiry-style lesson where students pull real aerosol data and attempt to identify trends among data sets.

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