Visualization: Infrared Spectra of Greenhouse Gases

A visualization to learn about the infrared (IR) spectra of different greenhouse gases and the effect of greenhouse gases on the Earth’s climate.

Students will use the visualization to view the IR spectra of different greenhouse gases, observe the amount of IR radiation absorbed for the current concentration of greenhouse gases, and discuss the global warming potential of different greenhouse gases.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. Compare the IR spectra of water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane (CH4).
  2. Describe the relationship between the Earth’s emission spectrum of IR and the IR spectra of greenhouse gases.

About the Tool

Tool Name Infrared Spectral Windows
Discipline Physics
Topic(s) in Discipline Electromagnetic Radiation; Infrared Radiation; Emission Spectrum
Climate Topic The Greenhouse Effect, Climate and the Atmosphere
Type of Tool Interactive Visualization
Grade Level High School; Undergraduate
Location Global
Language English
Developed by Amanda Thompson, Katrina Genuis, Joseph Zondervan, Rachel Hislop-Hook, McKenzie Oliver, Dr. Peter Mahaffy and Dr. Brian Martin at The King’s Centre for Visualization in Science
Hosted at The King’s Centre for Visualization in Science
Link Link
Access Online
Computer Skills Basic