A classroom/laboratory activity to model how changes in the radiation entering or leaving the Earth affect the temperature of the planet.

Students will model the data by using Excel spreadsheets and will then determine whether a polynomial function or an exponential function provides the best prediction.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. How does the Earth’s temperature change for a 10% increase in radiation input?
  2. Compare different functions (quadratic, cubic, quartic, exponential) to model the data (temperature vs time). Which function provides the best prediction?

About the Tool

Tool Name Climate prediction
Discipline Mathematics
Topic(s) in Discipline Model, Quadratic function, Cubic function, Quartic function, Exponential function
Climate Topic Climate and the atmosphere, Planetary Climate
Type of Tool Laboratory Activity
Grade Level High School
Location Global
Language English
Developed by Nuffield Foundation
Hosted at Nuffield Foundation
Link http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/fsmqs/level-3-algebra#Climate%20prediction
Access Online, Offline
Computer Skills Intermediate