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A Single-layer Atmosphere Model to Explain Atmospheric Warming


A reading to learn about the energy balance of planet Earth and to understand atmospheric warming by using a single-layer atmosphere model.

Students will learn about emissivity and absorptivity. Further, they will learn about the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere by calculating the temperature of a bare blackbody earth and the temperature of a blackbody earth with a 1-layer atmosphere.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. Define emissivity.
  2. Explain the difference between a blackbody and a greybody.
  3. “An atmosphere that absorbs and re-emits some of the radiation from a planet’s surface results in a surface that is warmer than if there were no atmosphere.” Discuss and explain with the help of a single-layer atmosphere model.
About Tool
Tool Name ACS Climate Science Toolkit | How Atmospheric Warming Works
Discipline Earth Sciences 
Topic(s) in Discipline Greenhouse Effect, Atmosphere, Planetary Energy Balance, Blackbody Radiation, Stefan-Boltzman Law
Climate Topic Greenhouse Effect, Climate and the Atmosphere
Type of tool Reading
Grade Level Undergraduate
Location      –
Language English
Translation      –
Developed by ACS Climate Science Toolkit
Hosted at American Chemical Society 
Access Online
Computer Skills Intermediate


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