Reading: Simple Atmospheric Model

A reading that introduces a single-layer atmosphere model, which is based on the emissivity of thermal radiation, to explain atmospheric warming. 

Students will learn about the absorptivity and emissivity of grey bodies, the equation for planetary energy balance, and emission profiles of different sources while understanding a simple model to determine planetary surface temperatures.

Use this tool to help students find answers to:

  • Define emissivity and absorptivity.
  • Describe the single-layer atmosphere model for atmospheric warming.

About the Tool

Tool Name A Single-Layer Atmosphere Model
Discipline Physics, Earth Sciences
Topic(s) in Discipline ·  Atmospheric Warming

·  Blackbody Radiation

·  Emissivity, Absorptivity

·  Stefan-Boltzmann Law

Climate Topic ·  Climate and the Atmosphere

·  Planetary Energy Balance

Type of Tool Reading
Grade Level High school, Undergraduate
Location Global
Language English
Developed by American Chemical Society (ACS)
Hosted at American Chemical Society (ACS)
Access Online
Computer Skills Basic


Emission from a black body and emission from a grey body

(Image Credit : Jerry Bell)

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