The Earth's Heat Budget
University of Illinois at Chicago
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Hands-on laboratory activity that allows students to investigate the effects of distance and angle on the input of solar radiation at the Earth's surface; the role played by albedo; and the heat capacity of land and water.
Introductory earth science course, principally for non-majors.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered:
Basic algebra; some trigonometry is useful.
How the activity is situated in the course:
National or State Education Standards addressed by this activity?:
Content/concepts goals for this activity:
causes of the seasons; changes in radiative heating with latitude; albedo; heat capacity
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity:
Predicting radiative heating based on simple geometry and experiments; testing these ideas
Other skills goals for this activity:
working in groups
Description of the activity/assignment
Lab is divided into three sections. In the first part, students examine the effect of distance and angle on the radition received on the globe, using simple apparatus. They become familiar with the inverse-square law and the major role of the angle of incidence of radiation. In the second part, they measure the effect of different albedos on radiative heating of a surface. In the final part, they determine the relative heat capacities of water and sand.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Graded assignment. Learning tested with in class exams.
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Controlled Vocabulary Terms
Subject: Geoscience:Lunar and Planetary Science, Hydrology, Atmospheric Science:Climatology , Environmental Science:Ecosystems:Biogeochemical cycling, Education
Resource Type: Activities:Lab Activity
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14)
Ready for Use: Ready to Use
Topics: Hydrosphere/Cryosphere, Solar system, Education, Chemistry/Physics/Mathematics, Human Dimensions/Resources, Energy/Material cycles, Atmosphere, Climate
Theme: Teach the Earth:Teaching Topics:Water, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Planetary Science, Hydrology/Hydrogeology, Biogeoscience, Environmental Science, Atmospheric Science, Teach the Earth:Incorporating Societal Issues:Climate Change