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Human Energy Systems | Activity 6.2

Activity 6.2: Using Models to Predict Future Conditions (50 min)

Students use the Very, Very Simple Climate Model to make predictions about future atmospheric CO2 concentrations and global temperatures based on CO2 emissions scenarios.

Resources Provided

Setup

Prepare a computer with a projector to display the model at http://scied.ucar.edu/simple-climate-model

Directions

1. Introduce the Very, Very Simple Climate model.

Prepare a computer with a projector to display the Very, Very Simple Climate model at http://scied.ucar.edu/simple-climate-model

  • Tell students that in this model, average global temperature is determined entirely by the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and its effect on temperature (the greenhouse effect). The model is based on the simple mathematical relationship between atmospheric CO2 concentration and average global temperature, which states that temperature rises about 3°C each time atmospheric CO2
  • Show students how to change the CO2 emissions by moving the slider and demonstrate how to run the model by clicking “step forward” or “play” at the top.

Assessment

Use students’ responses to the questions on the worksheet to assess their understanding of the effect of CO2 emissions on atmospheric CO2 and global temperatures.