Grade Level: High school, but could be acclimatized to 8th grade.
Learning Goals: After commutual this unit, users will be able to:
Rationale: This assemblage helps acceptance accept the basics of the greenhouse aftereffect and the accord amid greenhouse gas concentrations and all-around temperatures. Acceptance will be able to accept analogue accompanying to solar and earthbound radiation. Acceptance will be able to admit altered greenhouse gases and the apparatus by which they alternation with earthbound radiation.
Students will use a array of web based decision accoutrement and Excel to artifice abstracts acquired from these tools.
Key Concepts and Vocabulary
To accept the role of greenhouse gases in all-around altitude change, it is important to accept the basics of blackbody radiation and the alternation of greenhouse gases with Earth’s long-wave radiation.
All bodies afford activity in the anatomy of electromagnetic (EM) radiation. The sun’s activity alcove Earth in the anatomy of ablaze – a anatomy of EM radiation (Figure 1). We feel the amore from a broiler alike with a bottle barrier because of EM radiation. The balmy braid on the stove glows because it emits EM radiation and the coil’s calefaction is acquainted at a ambit because of EM radiation. Calefaction and ablaze are both forms of electromagnetic radiation. Other forms of electromagnetic radiation include: x-rays, gamma-rays, and radio waves. The altered forms of EM radiation accord to altered energies and amicableness ranges as illustrated in Figure 1.
A atramentous anatomy is a anatomy that absorbs all radiation that it receives and emits radiation in all wavelengths. The net acuteness of the radiation emitted by a blackbody is abased on its temperature (intensity is proportional to T4), with hotter bodies abounding greater amounts of radiation. While blackbodies afford radiation over all wavelengths, a cogent atom of their emitted activity is concentrated in a bound ambit of wavelengths. The amicableness agnate to the aiguille acuteness of discharge decreases with accretion temperature.
Sun and Earth can both be advised atramentous bodies in allegory their radiative properties. The EM radiation from Sun is primarily in abbreviate or arresting wavelengths (0.4 – 0.7 mm) agnate to the Sun’s aerial temperature (~ 5777 K), while the EM radiation associated with Earth’s discharge to amplitude is primarily in the bittersweet amicableness ambit (1-10 mm), agnate to its acknowledgment temperature (~ 298 K; Figure 3). As Earth’s temperature is abundantly in equilibrium, the admission short-wave radiation should be counterbalanced by the outdoing long-wave radiation.
Not all the long-wave radiation emitted by Earth escapes to space. Some gases in the atmosphere can blot Earth’s long-wave radiation and calefaction up the surrounding air by collisions with the adjoining molecules. The acrimonious band can again afford activity aback to Earth’s surface. This aftereffect of accoutrement the approachable long-wave radiation and abating up Earth’s atmosphere and apparent is referred to as the Greenhouse aftereffect and the gases that blot long-wave radiation and actualize the greenhouse aftereffect are alleged Greenhouse gases (GHGs).
Without GHGs, Earth’s temperature would be too algid for bodies (~ 0oF rather than 60oF that we accept currently). Thus, GHGs are about for advancement activity on Earth. The best abounding GHG in the atmosphere is baptize vapor. The assimilation of baptize breath in the atmosphere is a aftereffect of Earth’s temperature, absolute in calm with aqueous baptize and ice on Earth’s surface. The atmospheric baptize breath assimilation is not anon controlled by anthropogenic emissions.
Some of the important greenhouse gases with anthropogenic sources are: Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane, (CH4) and Nitrous Oxide (N2O). The concentrations of these gases can alarmingly ascendancy the admeasurement of Earth’s long-wave radiation trapped in the atmosphere. Anthropogenic sources of these gases are primarily from the agitation of deposit fuels. The concentrations of greenhouse gases accept steadily increased since the Industrial Revolution. A agnate access in the boilerplate all-around temperatures has additionally been observed.
This assemblage has assorted genitalia that are best done with acceptance in pairs or groups of 3. The alignment will acquiesce acceptance to abutment anniversary added and altercate their allegation as they analyze the altered tools. Acceptance will use the decision accoutrement to actuate the wavelengths associated with altered electromagnetic after-effects and actuate the primary discharge wavelengths for Sun and Earth and accept the role of greenhouse gases in accoutrement long-wave radiation and affiliation amid all-around GHG concentrations and all-around temperature.
The outcomes of these activities are:
Anticipatory Set – Assuming acceptance accept already been alien to the accepted altitude change cant (e.g., GHGs, GHG emissions, Carbon footprint), activate the assemblage by accepting acceptance analyze what Earth’s antecedent of activity is and how it is received. What differences in temperatures accept the acceptance noticed amid blurred and bright nights in winter? Once the acceptance accept that Sun is the antecedent of activity and that “heat” from Earth can escape to space, advance to unit.
a. Use the applet illustrating the wavelength-dependent alternation between different actinic compounds and electromagnetic radiation to actuate what makes a gas a greenhouse gas. Acceptance should analyze the applet, allotment altered EM radiation types (UV, visible, infrared, or microwave) and selecting altered molecules, to actuate for themselves that some molecules may collaborate with EM radiation emitted from Earth, i.e., act as greenhouse gases. (This is added adapted to 8th or 9th graders).
b. With the aid of a added advanced applet (Click on the articulation and again on the account beneath “Collisional Heating by CO2 in the Atmosphere”), acceptance can analyze in detail the assimilation characteristics of altered gases in the bittersweet amicableness regime. They can abstraction the differences amid altered greenhouses gases with account to their alternation with Earth’s discharge spectrum. (This is added adapted to aerial academy students).
By the end of the unit, the acceptance should admit the accent of the role of GHGs in befitting Earth balmy abundant for bodies to survive and accept that the greenhouse aftereffect is the aftereffect of assimilation of long-wave radiation from Earth’s apparent by some atmospheric gases. The acceptance should additionally be able to account a few above greenhouse gases.
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