In this exercise, students explore geographical variations in Earth's albedo, reflected solar radiation (short wave radiation), and Earth radiation (long wave radiation). Using datasets and the data viewer from the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE), they will study data from four months of the year (winter, spring, summer, and fall) to discover variations in albedo due to geographic location (longitude and/or latutude), and due to seasonal variation. They will also examine data for incoming solar radiation to see seasonal variations from winter to summer, and examine the clear-sky longwave radiation dataset to see seasonal variations in Earth radiation. In three hands-on experiments, they will use a globe and a photocell to demonstrate the effect of Earth's spherical shape on change in solar radiation with latitude, study albedo by testing the reflectivity of paper of various colors and textures, and examine radiative energy flux by measuring the amount of light received from a lamp placed at increasing distances from a photometer.


SubjectsChemistry, Geoscience, Physics, Space Science, Space science
Education levelHigh School, Higher Education
Resource typesInstructional Material
Resource formatapplication, application/ms-excel, text, text/html
PublisherDepartment of Earth and Environmental Systems, Columbia University

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DLESE: Digital Library for Earth System Education
Title DLESE Community Collection
Link http://www.dlese.org/
Description The Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) mission is to improve the quality, quantity, and efficiency of teaching and learning about the Earth System, by developing, managing, and providing access to high-quality educational resources and supporting services through a community-based, distributed digital library. Intended users include students, educators and citizens of all ages, in both formal and informal learning environments. The collection favors resources that convey linkages and connections; the general with the specific, theory with evidence, global with local, and that demonstrate the application of science to solving real world problems. This includes providing access to Earth data sets and imagery, and the tools and interfaces that enable their effective use. DLESE resources are community-contributed, by individuals, organizations, and formal collection efforts.