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Modelling the Earth’s Zonal Energy Balance

Classroom/Laboratory Activity

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 Tool
Tool Name Global Warming: A Zonal Energy Balance Model
Discipline Mathematics and Statistics
Topic(s) in Discipline Mathematical Modelling, Computer Programming, MATLAB, Mathematica, Energy Balance
Climate Topic Planetary Energy Balance
Type of tool Classroom/Laboratory Activity
Grade Level Undergraduate
Location Global
Language English
Translation      –
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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