Classroom/Laboratory Activity: Black Carbon and Earth’s Albedo

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 the tool

Tool NameChanging Planet: Black Carbon- A Dusty Situation
Topic(s) in DisciplineCarbon Chemistry, Allotropy, Allotropes of carbon, Black Carbon, Greenhouse Gas
Climate Topic Climate and the Atmosphere, Greenhouse Effect
Type of tool Classroom/Laboratory Activity
Grade LevelHigh School
Developed byMissy Holzer, Jennifer Bergman, and Roberta Johnson
Hosted atNESTA/Windows to the Universe team Website
Computer SkillsBasic
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