How do Atmospheres Interact with Solar Energy?

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The students brainstorm as to why the observed surface temperature of Earth is so different from that observed by their gray body model. Then they do a literature search to obtain information about the atmospheres of Earth, Venus and Mars. They speculate as to which characteristics of the atmospheres may be responsible for the difference between observed and theoretical surface temperatures. Students then use separate samples of carbon dioxide and air to observe interactions of the compound and the mixture with incident light or heat. The activity ends with a definition of the Greenhouse Effect.

Tags: weather, atmosphere, planets, solar energy

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