A visualization to understand blackbody radiation, the effects of albedo and solar brightness on the temperature of a planet, and the greenhouse effect of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Students will experiment with a blackbody simulation to understand how the blackbody radiation model can be used to determine the surface temperature of a planet. Further, they will use another simulation to change the albedo (by changing the planet’s surface type) and the Sun’s brightness, and will observe the corresponding effects on the temperature of the planet.
Use this tool to help your students find answers to:
- Use the blackbody radiation model to explain how the Earth’s temperature can be approximately determined.
- For a given solar brightness, compare a planet’s temperature for a surface of desert sand versus a surface of grasslands. Explain the difference in temperatures observed.
About the Tool
|Tool Name||Planetary Energy Balance|
|Topic(s) in Discipline||Blackbody; Energy; Energy Balance; Albedo; Electromagnetic Radiation; Conservation of Energy|
|Climate Topic||Planetary Energy Balance|
|Type of Tool||Interactive Visualization|
|Grade Level||High School|
|Developed by||UCAR Center for Science Education|
|Hosted at||UCAR Center for Science Education|