Greenhouse Effect Differentiated Process Steps

Elementary School

1) sunlight in through air

2) at surface, light changes into heat

3) some of the heat rises up into air

4) CO2 (and others greenhouse gases) send some of the rising heat back down to earth

5) by holding in rising heat, rising CO2 raises the average temperature of the planet

6) rising average temperature creates dangerous climate change

Middle School

1) sunlight in through atmosphere

2) sunlight hits surface

3) some sunlight reflected
    –reflected light carries color and shape of new source
    –lighter material reflects more
    –white reflects all sunlight

4) some sunlight absorbed as heat
    –darker material absorbs more
    –black absorbs all sunlight

5) Some heat rises into the air, like heat rising off a hot street or toaster

6) CO2 and other greenhouse gases send some of the rising heat back down to earth

7) humans send extra CO2 into the air by burning fossil fuels (gasoline, coal, natural gas)

8) the returning heat rises the average global temperature

9) as the average temperature rises, the climate changes in dangerous ways


High School

1) sunlight in through atmosphere

2) sunlight hits surface

3) some sunlight absorbed and re-emitted
         –at the resonant frequencies of the material
         –re-emitted light carries color and shape of new source

4) some sunlight absorbed as heat
     –sunlight frequencies which do not match the resonant frequencies of the material
     –heat=random thermal motion of atoms

5) some of the surface heat releases infrared radiation into the air
     –infrared radiation (IR)=an electromagnetic wave with lower frequency and longer  wavelength than visible light

6) CO2 and other greenhouse gases absorb and re-emit the rising IR in all directions

7) CO2 and greenhouse gases send about half the rising IR back down to earth

8) returning IR gets absorbed as heat, raising the temperature of the globe

9) As the average temperature quickly rises, the climate changes in extreme and dangerous ways.

 10) Humans are creating this climate change by burning fossil fuels, which quickly raises the CO2 in the atmosphere

 

AP high school/introductory university

1) sunlight in through atmosphere

2) sunlight hits surface

3) some sunlight reflected
    –at the resonant frequencies of the material
    –reflected light carries color and shape of new source

4) some sunlight absorbed as heat
    –sunlight frequencies which do not match the resonant frequencies of the material

5) some of the surface heat releases infrared radiation into the air
    –infrared radiation (IR)=a low-frequency, long wavelength electromagnetic wave

6) CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the air resonate with the rising IR

7) Dominant diatomic N2 and O2 gases have resonant frequencies higher than IR

8) CO2 and other greenhouse gases absorb and re-emit the rising IR in all directions

9) CO2 and greenhouse gases send about half the rising IR back down to earth

10) This returning IR gets absorbed, raising the average temperature of the globe

11) As the average temperature quickly rises, the climate changes in extreme and dangerous ways.

 12) Humans are creating this climate change by burning fossil fuels.