The Greenhouse effect

This diagram represents the greenhouse effect.

If you haven’t studied this diagram before, you should learn its parts before taking the quizzes below.

“1” represents the sun. “2” represents the sunlight heading toward the surface of the Earth, which is shown at “3.”

Depending on conditions on the Earth’s surface, more or less of the light from the sun can be directly reflected back into space. This reflected light (what you’d see if you were standing on the moon looking at the Earth) is shown at “4.”

When light shines upon any object, some of that light gets converted into heat. Heat from the Earth is shown at “5.”

Our atmosphere (represented by “8”) is mostly nitrogen and oxygen. In addition, there are small amounts of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). In this diagram, the greenhouse gas layer is represented as number “9” and shown in green. In reality, the gases are colorless (just like oxygen and nitrogen) and they’re distributed throughout the atmosphere.

Greenhouse gases absorb the heat emitted by the Earth. Absorbing the Earth’s heat causes these molecules to vibrate. That vibration causes the molecules to re-radiate heat. Some of that heat from greenhouse gases goes into space, which is indicated by arrow “6.” The rest of the heat is sent back to Earth, indicated by arrow “7.”

The heat that’s sent back towards the Earth at “7” is the greenhouse effect. In the same way that the glass of a greenhouse lets light in but traps heat inside the greenhouse, greenhouse gases let the Sun’s light in, and trap heat inside the atmosphere. We need the greenhouse effect to keep our climate livable. If greenhouse gases fall to a very low level, Earth can get to be very cold: that’s what happens during an ice age. But if greenhouse gas levels get too high, the Earth can become much warmer. That is what is happening now, as human combustion of fossil fuels has released lots of carbon dioxide into the air in a relatively short time.

Got it?

Label the parts of the diagram below.

[qwiz random=”true”]

[h]Understanding the Greenhouse Effect (Quiz 1)

[i]

[q] In the diagram below, which number indicates the sun?

[textentry single_char=”true”]

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[q] In the diagram below, which number shows light from the sun moving toward the earth?

[textentry single_char=”true”]

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[q] In the diagram below, which number represents the surface of the Earth?

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[q] In the diagram below, which number represents light from Earth that’s reflected right back into space?

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[q] When light from the sun shines upon the Earth, some of that light gets converted into heat.  Which number represents this heat?

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[q] In the diagram below, which number represents heat from Earth that’s absorbed by greenhouse gas molecules and then gets re-radiated back down to the earth?

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[q] In the diagram below, which number represents heat from Earth that’s absorbed by greenhouse gas molecules and then gets re-radiated out into space?

[textentry single_char=”true”]

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[q] In the diagram below, which number represents the oxygen and nitrogen gas that makes up most of our atmosphere?

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[q] In the diagram below, only one arrow represents the warming that’s caused by the greenhouse effect. Which one?

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[q] In the diagram below, which number represents greenhouse gases?

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[x]

[restart]

[/qwiz]

Applying What You’ve Learned about the Greenhouse Effect

[qwiz random=”true”] [h]

Understanding the Greenhouse Effect (Quiz 2)

[i]

 

[q] One consequence of climate change is that ice in mountain glaciers, and at the north and south poles, is melting. Melting ice makes the surface of the Earth darker. Which arrow would become thinner as a result?

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[q] In the diagram below, which arrow would become THICKER if more ice covered the surface of the Earth, reflecting away more light?

 

[textentry single_char=”true”]

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[q] If there were more carbon dioxide, two lines would become thicker. One of them is “6.” Which is the other one?

[textentry single_char=”true”]

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[q] If there were less carbon dioxide in the air, we could decrease the amount of heat that carbon dioxide in the air sends back to the Earth. Which arrow would become more narrow, representing a weaker greenhouse effect.

[textentry single_char=”true”]

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[q multiple_choice=”true”] If there were more carbon dioxide in the air, the greenhouse effect would become

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[c]IHdlYWtlcg==[Qq]

[f]IE5vLiBDYXJib24gZGlveGlkZSBpcyBhIGdyZWVuaG91c2UgZ2FzLiBJZiB0aGVyZSYjODIxNztzIG1vcmUgY2FyYm9uIGRpb3hpZGUsIHdoYXQgd291bGQgdGhhdCBkbyB0byB0aGUgZ3JlZW5ob3VzZSBlZmZlY3Q/[Qq]

[c]IG5laXRoZXIgd2Vha2VyIG9yIHN0cm9uZ2VyOiBpdCB3b3VsZCBzdGF5IHRoZSBzYW1lLg==[Qq]

[f]IE5vLiBDYXJib24gZGlveGlkZSBpcyBhIGdyZWVuaG91c2UgZ2FzLiBJZiB0aGVyZSYjODIxNztzIG1vcmUgY2FyYm9uIGRpb3hpZGUsIHdoYXQgd291bGQgdGhhdCBkbyB0byB0aGUgZ3JlZW5ob3VzZSBlZmZlY3Q/[Qq]

[q multiple_choice=”true”] If we planted trees around the world, it would absorb lots of carbon dioxide. As a result, the greenhouse effect would become.

[c]IHN0cm9uZ2Vy[Qq]

[f]IE5vLiBDYXJib24gZGlveGlkZSBpcyBhIGdyZWVuaG91c2UgZ2FzLiBJZiB0aGVyZSYjODIxNztzIGxlc3MgY2FyYm9uIGRpb3hpZGUsIHdoYXQgd291bGQgdGhhdCBkbyB0byB0aGUgZ3JlZW5ob3VzZSBlZmZlY3Q/[Qq]

[c]IHdlYW tlcg==[Qq]

[f]IFllcy4gQ2FyYm9uIGRpb3hpZGUgaXMgYSBncmVlbmhvdXNlIGdhcy4gSWYgdGhlcmUmIzgyMTc7cyBsZXNzIGNhcmJvbiBkaW94aWRlLCB0aGUgZ3JlZW5ob3VzZSBlZmZlY3QgaXMgZ29pbmcgdG8gYmUgd2Vha2VyLg==[Qq]

[c]IG5laXRoZXIgd2Vha2VyIG9yIHN0cm9uZ2VyOiBpdCB3b3VsZCBzdGF5IHRoZSBzYW1lLg==[Qq]

[f]IE5vLiBDYXJib24gZGlveGlkZSBpcyBhIGdyZWVuaG91c2UgZ2FzLiBJZiB0aGVyZSYjODIxNztzIGxlc3MgY2FyYm9uIGRpb3hpZGUsIHdoYXQgd291bGQgdGhhdCBkbyB0byB0aGUgZ3JlZW5ob3VzZSBlZmZlY3Q/[Qq]

[q multiple_choice=”true”] If the Earth became shinier because of spreading snow and glaciers, then temperatures on our planet would probably

[c]IGdvIHVw[Qq]

[f]IE5vLiBJZiB0aGVyZSYjODIxNztzIG1vcmUgaWNlIGFuZCBzbm93LCB0aGVuIG1vcmUgbGlnaHQgZ2V0cyByZWZsZWN0ZWQgYmFjayBpbnRvIHNwYWNlIChhcnJvdyAmIzgyMjA7NCYjODIyMTspIGFib3ZlLiBUaGlzIHdvdWxkIGRlY3JlYXNlIHRoZSBhbW91bnQgb2YgaGVhdCB0aGF0IHRoZSBFYXJ0aCBhYnNvcmJzLCBhbmQgaXQgd291bGQgZGVjcmVhc2UgYm90aCBhcnJvd3MgJiM4MjIwOzUsJiM4MjIxOyAmIzgyMjA7NiwmIzgyMjE7IGFuZCAmIzgyMjA7Ny4mIzgyMjE7IFRoZSBncmVlbmhvdXNlIGVmZmVjdCB3b3VsZCBiZWNvbWUgd2Vha2VyLiDCoFdvdWxkIHRoaXMgbWFrZSB0ZW1wZXJhdHVyZSBnbyB1cCBvciBnbyBkb3duPw==[Qq]

[c]IGdvIG Rvd24=[Qq]

[f]IFllcy4gSWYgdGhlcmUmIzgyMTc7cyBtb3JlIGljZSBhbmQgc25vdywgdGhlbiBtb3JlIGxpZ2h0IGdldHMgcmVmbGVjdGVkIGJhY2sgaW50byBzcGFjZSAoYXJyb3cgJiM4MjIwOzQmIzgyMjE7KSBhYm92ZS4gVGhpcyB3b3VsZCBkZWNyZWFzZSB0aGUgYW1vdW50IG9mIGhlYXQgdGhhdCB0aGUgRWFydGggYWJzb3JicywgYW5kIGl0IHdvdWxkIGRlY3JlYXNlIGJvdGggYXJyb3dzICYjODIyMDs1LCYjODIyMTsgJiM4MjIwOzYsJiM4MjIxOyBhbmQgJiM4MjIwOzcuJiM4MjIxOyBUaGUgZ3JlZW5ob3VzZSBlZmZlY3Qgd291bGQgYmVjb21lIHdlYWtlciwgYW5kIEVhcnRoJiM4MjE3O3MgdGVtcGVyYXR1cmUgd291bGQgZ28gZG93bi4=[Qq]

[c]IHN0YXkgdGhlIHNhbWU=[Qq]

[f]IE5vLiBJZiB0aGVyZSYjODIxNztzIG1vcmUgaWNlIGFuZCBzbm93LCB0aGVuIG1vcmUgbGlnaHQgZ2V0cyByZWZsZWN0ZWQgYmFjayBpbnRvIHNwYWNlIChhcnJvdyAmIzgyMjA7NCYjODIyMTspIGFib3ZlLiBUaGlzIHdvdWxkIGRlY3JlYXNlIHRoZSBhbW91bnQgb2YgaGVhdCB0aGF0IHRoZSBFYXJ0aCBhYnNvcmJzLCBhbmQgaXQgd291bGQgZGVjcmVhc2UgYm90aCBhcnJvd3MgJiM4MjIwOzUsJiM4MjIxOyAmIzgyMjA7NiwmIzgyMjE7IGFuZCAmIzgyMjA7Ny4mIzgyMjE7IFdoYXQgZWZmZWN0IHdvdWxkIHRoaXMgaGF2ZSBvbiBFYXJ0aCYjODIxNztzIHRlbXBlcmF0dXJlPw==[Qq]

[x]

[restart]

[/qwiz]