Planetary Energy Balance

A teaching module developed by on climate physics and climate models. The module for ‘A level Physics’ students includes introductory resources, exercises and worksheets on climate change models. The module consists of the following
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
A model/simulator to explore the Gaia hypothesis and the concepts of albedo and hysteresis through the example of daisies (living organisms) and their interaction with temperature (climatic factor). Students will configure the distribution of black
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
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
A video micro-lecture that discusses Earth’s energy balance and the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere. Students will learn how to determine the surface temperature of planet Earth with no atmosphere and with 1- and 2-layer
A reading that discusses the blackbody emission properties of the Sun and planets, describes the calculation of planetary temperatures by using the Stefan-Boltzmann Law, and explains the effect of atmospheres on planetary temperatures.  Students will

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