A reading by University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Center for Science Education that discusses how the surface temperature of the Earth can be calculated through simple energy balance equations.This overview reading can be used as an introduction to the topic by teachers interested in teaching about planetary energy balance.The reading discusses concepts such as “expected temperature”, thermal equilibrium, infrared light, black body radiation and Stefan-Boltzmann Law.
Students will learn how to calculate the surface temperature of planet Earth based on the balance between incoming solar radiation and outgoing terrestrial radiation. They will also learn concepts such as blackbody radiation, the effects of albedo on the surface temperature of a planet, and the greenhouse effect of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Use this tool to help your students find answers to:
- Calculate the surface temperature of the Earth as a simple blackbody with no atmosphere.
- What is the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere?
About the Tool
|Tool Name||Calculating Planetary Energy Balance and Temperature|
|Discipline||Earth Sciences, Physics|
|Topic(s) in Discipline||Climate Change Overview, Blackbody, Energy, Energy Balance, Albedo, Electromagnetic Radiation, Conservation of Energy|
|Climate Topic||Planetary Energy Balance; Planetary Climate|
|Type of tool||Reading|
|Grade Level||High School, Undergraduate|
|Developed by||University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Center for Science Education|
|Hosted at||University Corporation for Atmospheric Research|