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Black Carbon and Earth’s Albedo

Classroom/Laboratory Activity

A laboratory activity to demonstrate the effect of black carbon on surface temperature of the Earth. This activity by Holzer et al. for the NESTA/Windows to the Universe team demonstrates the impact of black carbon on solar radiation absorption, particularly in the poles.

Students will be introduced to the albedo effect of black carbon. From the experiment, they will also learn how to collect and translate their findings using a simple model.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. What is the albedo effect of black carbon and how does it affect the surface temperature of Earth?
  2. Discuss how cutting down of black carbon emissions can reduce global surface temperatures.
About Tool
Tool Name Changing Planet: Black Carbon- A Dusty Situation
Discipline Chemistry
Topic(s) in Discipline Greenhouses Gases, Carbon Chemistry, Allotropy, Allotropes of carbon, Black Carbon, Greenhouse Gas
Climate Topic Climate and the Atmosphere, Greenhouse Effect
Type of tool Classroom/Laboratory Activity
Grade Level High School
Location Global
Language English
Translation      –
Developed by Missy Holzer, Jennifer Bergman, and Roberta Johnson
Hosted at NESTA/Windows to the Universe team Website
Access Online
Computer Skills Basic


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