Modeling the Effect of Changes in Radiation on Planetary Temperatures

Laboratory Activity

A classroom/laboratory activity to model how changes in the radiation entering or leaving the Earth affect the temperature of the planet.

Students will model the data by using Excel spreadsheets and will then determine whether a polynomial function or an exponential function provides the best prediction.

Use this tool to help students find answers to:

  1. How does the Earth’s temperature change for a 10% increase in radiation input?
  2. Compare different functions (quadratic, cubic, quartic, exponential) to model the data (temperature vs time).
  3. Which function provides the best prediction?

Image credit:

Visit Tool

By Nuffield Foundation

Hosted at Nuffield Foundation

Language: English

Location: Global

Grade: High School

Access: Online, Offline

Computer Skills: Basic

Discipline: Mathematics

Discipline Topics: Model, Quadratic function, Cubic function, Quartic function, Exponential function

Climate Topics: Climate and the atmosphere, Planetary Climate