c. The amount of solar energy absorbed or radiated by Earth is modulated by the atmosphere and depends on its composition. Greenhouse gases— such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane— occur naturally in small amounts and absorb and release heat energy more efficiently than abundant atmospheric gases like nitrogen and oxygen. Small increases in carbon dioxide concentration have a large effect on the climate system.

This visualization shows the molecular interaction of infrared radiation with various gases in the atmosphere. Focus is on the interaction with C02 molecules and resultant warming of the troposphere.

This animation allows students to explore the infrared spectra of greenhouse gases and depict the absorption spectra. Vibrational modes and Earth's energy spectrum can also be overlaid.

This NASA video discusses the impacts of the sun's energy, Earth's reflectance and greenhouse gases on the Earth System.

Students investigate how much greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide and methane) their family releases into the atmosphere each year and relate it to climate change. To address this, students use the Environmental Protection Agency Personal Emissions Calculator to estimate their family's greenhouse gas emissions and to think about how their family could reduce those emissions.

In this video, students learn that scientific evidence strongly suggests that different regions on Earth do not respond equally to increased temperatures. Ice-covered regions appear to be particularly sensitive to even small changes in global temperature. This video segment adapted from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center details how global warming may already be responsible for a significant reduction in glacial ice, which may in turn have significant consequences for the planet.

This lesson covers different aspects of the major greenhouse gases - water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides and CFCs - including some of the ways in which human activities are affecting the atmospheric concentrations of these key greenhouse gases. This is lesson six in a nine-lesson module about climate change.

In this activity students learn how Earth's energy balance is regulating climate. This activity is lesson 4 in the nine-lesson module Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change.

This is the seventh of nine lessons in the 'Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change' website. This lesson addresses climate feedback loops and how these loops help drive and regulate Earth's unique climate system.

This short animated video provides a general overview of the role of carbon dioxide in supporting the Greenhouse Effect.