Laboratory Activity: Modeling the Earth’s Zonal Energy Balance

A laboratory activity to create an energy balance model for planet Earth and obtain numerical solutions for the differential equations in the model.

Students will write code (using MATLAB or Mathematica) to model the distribution of the Earth’s surface temperature in response to increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere. They will learn about equilibrium climate sensitivity and will estimate the dangerous threshold value for global temperature.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

1. Derive the model (equations) for the spatially discrete version of Budyko-Sellers zonal energy balance model.

About the Tool

Tool Name Global Warming: A Zonal Energy Balance Model
Discipline Mathematics and Computer Science
Topic(s) in Discipline Mathematical Modeling; Computer Programming; MATLAB; Mathematica; Energy Balance
Climate Topic Planetary Energy Balance, Planetary Climate, Climate Models
Type of Tool Laboratory Activity
Grade Level Undergraduate
Location Global
Language English
Developed by Victor Padron, Normandale Community College
Hosted at Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College
Access Online
Computer Skills Advanced
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