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The Earth's Radiation Budget, Part II
In the second part of this exercise, students explore the effects of cloud cover on the distribution patterns of Earth's albedo, reflected solar radiation, and Earth radiation. They will use datasets and the data viewer from the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) to compare total radiation to cloud-free radiation to gain a clear idea of what reflectivity is caused by clouds and what is caused by Earth surface properties such as ice and snow, and to note which areas of Earth are consistently cloud-covered and which are cloud-free. In two hands-on experiments, they will measure the effect of radiation on "blackbodies", pieces of black and white paper whose albedos they measured in part I of the exercise, and use a spectrometer to measure the amount of radiative energy emitted by two different light sources, such as a fluorescent ceiling light and a halogen desk lamp.
Intended for grade levels:
  • High (9-12)
  • College (13-14)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Computer activity
    • Lab activity
  • Climatology
  • Physics
  • Space science
Technical requirements:
Parts of exercise require Microsoft Excel
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright and other restrictions information are unknown.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-009-283
Related resources:
This resource is part of 'The Earth's Radiation Budget, Part I'
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: Columbia University
Department of Earth and Environmental Systems

Contact: Stephanie Pfirman
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Contact: Peter Schlosser
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Contact: Ming Fang-Ting
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory