Reading: Water Vapour Feedback and Earth’s Climate

A reading that explains the phase diagrams of water on Earth, Mars, and Venus and discusses the water vapor feedback mechanism in the atmospheres of these planets that influences the greenhouse effect.

Students will be able to explain the concept of water vapor feedback on Earth’s atmosphere by using the phase diagram of water. Further, they will be able to compare the effect of water vapor feedback on the atmospheres of Earth, Mars, and Venus and discuss how the water cycle ensures that Earth has a climate that is more suitable to support life while the runaway greenhouse effect of water vapor on Venus makes it uninhabitable.

Use this tool to help students find answers to:

  • Discuss the water vapor feedback mechanism in the Earth’s atmosphere by using the phase diagram of water.
  • Using phase diagrams, explain why the climate of Earth is habitable while the climate of Mars and Venus is not.
  • Why did Venus experience a runaway greenhouse effect, resulting in a very high surface temperature (462°C)? Discuss why Earth has not yet experienced this effect.

About the Tool

Tool Name ‘Chapter 7: Feedbacks’, pg. 127-131 and pg. 144 from the book,

‘Global Warming- Understanding the Forecast’

Discipline Chemistry, Physics, Earth Sciences
Topic(s) in Discipline Phase Equilibria, Phase Diagrams of Water, Feedback Mechanisms,

Vapor Pressure, Runaway Greenhouse Effect

Climate Topic Climate and the Atmosphere, The Greenhouse Effect
Type of Tool Reading
Grade Level Undergraduate
Location Global
Language English
Translation
Developed by Prof. David Archer, University of Chicago
Hosted at University of Chicago
Link http://www.kaltura.com/index.php/extwidget/preview/partner_id/1090132/uiconf_id/20652192/entry_id/1_v3d6yfus/embed/auto
Access Online, Offline
Computer Skills Basic