On a cold day, you put on a jacket to help you stay warm. The earth has a “jacket” of sorts as well—the atmosphere. The air above us keeps the
earth much warmer than it would otherwise be. But exactly how this works, how the earth’s atmosphere keeps us warm, requires that you look
beyond the rainbow, into the infrared. We’ll do a series of investigations and demonstrations to illustrate how this light beyond
the rainbow interacts with matter, how it transfers energy from one place to another and, ultimately, how it is that our cold universe can
harbor such a warm planet. Along the way, we’ll explore some very basic questions. Why does it get colder on clear nights than on cloudy nights?
What is the role of carbon dioxide in keeping the earth warm?
Your presenters, Brian Jones and Chris Chiaverina, have many years of experience in the classroom and many years of experience developing
activities that help students learn and understand abstract concepts. They have presented workshops in many different states and different
countries. We’ll share ideas instructions for performing several hands-on investigations requiring very simple tools, plus suggestions
for learning more about this topic and how to share it with students.
Introduction: A Warm Planet: Basic Principles
Part I: The Rainbow & Beyond
- Rainbow glasses
- Chromadepth glasses
- Rainbow glasses & filters
- Sunset eggs
- Writing with light
- Why can’t you see UV?
- Infrared goggles
- VIDEO: Looking through you
- Demonstrating efficiency with different bulbs & generators
Part II: Thermal Radiation & Energy Transfer
- Heat packs
- Can you see thermal radiation?
- Infrared thermometers
- Color and cooling
- What is the greenhouse effect?
- What makes a gas a greenhouse gas?
- VIDEO: Greenhouse gases
Part III: Modeling Energy in the Atmosphere
Part IV: Weather, Climate & Climate Change