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Differences Between Ground and Air Temperatures DLESE Reviewed Collection
In developing models for climate change and weather prediction, the measurements of surface and near-surface temperature are an important factor in the modeling process. As the Sun heats the Earth's surface, the atmosphere is warmed from below by the processes of conduction and convection from the surface. However, near-surface air temperature (approximately 10 meters above the surface) is often different than the surface temperature. The different properties of air, land and water, such as density or heat capacity, as well as seasonal changes of the surface type, can explain these differences. In this lesson, students will explore real NASA satellite data to compare the near-surface air temperature and surface temperature in different climate regions. They will then draw conclusions about the seasonal patterns and the effect of the underlying surface on the air temperature.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Computer activity
    • Lesson plan
  • Atmospheric science
  • Climatology
  • Geographical Sciences:
    • Physical geography
  • Mathematics
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
This product is free and clear for general use.
DLESE Catalog ID: MYND-000-000-000-060
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Structure of the earth system
  • National Geography Standards:
    • The world in spatial terms:
      • How to analyze the spatial organization of people, places, and environments on Earth's surface
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Contact: Dr Lin Chambers