Model/ Simulator: The Greenhouse Effect

An interactive simulation to explore the role of different greenhouse gases in causing the greenhouse effect. This PhET simulation titled, ‘The Greenhouse Effect’ by University of Colorado, Boulder, helps to visualize the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere.

Students will learn how certain gases in the atmosphere absorb outgoing terrestrial radiation and re-radiate the energy back to Earth’s surface. Using the simulation, they will also be able to adjust the concentration of different greenhouse gases and to note the corresponding surface temperatures of the planet. 

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. What are greenhouse gases?
  2. What is the ‘greenhouse effect’ of the Earth’s atmosphere?
  3. Discuss how varying concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere cause global warming. 

About the tool

Tool NameThe Greenhouse Effect
Topic(s) in DisciplineGreenhouse Effect, Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Global Warming
Climate Topic Greenhouse Effect; Introduction to Climate Change
Type of tool Simulation
Grade LevelMiddle School, High School
LanguageEnglish, French, German, and Spanish
Developed byPhET Interactive Simulations, University of Colorado
Hosted atPhET Interactive Simulations Website
Computer SkillsBasic

Model/Simulator: Modeling Earth’s Carbon

A model/simulator to learn about the carbon cycle and carbon dioxide projections based on the observed CO2 concentrations from Land, Ocean and Atmospheric reservoirs.  The model includes four RCP scenarios based of fossil fuel emissions:

  1. Business as usual
  2. Slower Growth
  3. Big Reductions
  4. Very Aggressive

Students can simulate future carbon dioxide concentration, surface temperature, ocean surface pH and carbon fluxes through the use of this model. They will learn to calculate the projections based on various future scenarios for reservoirs of anthropogenic carbon.

Mathematics/Statistics teachers can use this resource to teach their students about models and the use of climate data to create models.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. What is a carbon cycle? How does atmospheric CO2 impact land and ocean carbon concentration?
  2. Define the ‘business-as-usual’ scenario in the model.
  3. Based on the past projections, what will be the average surface temperature in each RCP scenario?

About the Tool

Tool NameEarth[carbon]
DisciplineEarth Sciences, Mathematic and Statistics 
Topic(s) in DisciplineCarbon Cycle, Atmospheric CO2, Surface Ocean pH, RCP Scenarios, Anthropogenic Carbon, CO2 emissions, Data Analysis, Statiscal Methods, Modelling, Data Projections
Climate TopicClimate Variability Record
Type of toolModel/Simulator
Grade LevelUndergraduate
AccessOnline, Offline
Computer SkillsBasic

Model/Simulator: Milankovitch Orbital Parameters

A model/simulator to learn about changes in Earth’s climate caused by variations in the solar energy received by the planet over geological time scales and to understand the role of the orbital parameters (obliquity, precession, and eccentricity) in causing ice age cycles (Milankovitch cycles) on Earth.

Model/Simulator: Daisyworld—A Model to Explore the Gaia Hypothesis

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).