Classroom/Laboratory Activity: Modeling the Effect of Changes in Radiation on Planetary Temperature

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 NameClimate prediction
Topic(s) in DisciplineModel, Quadratic function, Cubic function, Quartic function, Exponential function
Climate TopicClimate and the atmosphere, Planetary Climate
Type of ToolLaboratory Activity
Grade LevelHigh School
Location Global
Language English
Developed byNuffield Foundation
Hosted atNuffield Foundation
Access Online, Offline
Computer Skills Intermediate