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Animation About the Greenhouse Effect


This is a basic animation/simulation with background information about the greenhouse effect by DAMOCLES. The animation has several layers to it that allow users to drill into more detail about the natural greenhouse effect and different aspects of it, including volcanic aerosols and human impacts from burning fossil fuels.

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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Educators will need to scaffold this animation to ensure that the information presented is well understood by learners.
  • When teaching about the greenhouse effect, using the term "heat," as this animation does, may confuse students, especially if they think of heat as a verb. The more accurate technical term "outgoing long wave IR radiation" may prove more difficult to convey, but ultimately is a clearer depiction of Earth's energy balance.

About the Science

  • The animation is an accurate general overview of Earth's energy balance, but educators should recognize some of the sun/Earth dynamics have been oversimplified.
  • For example, the atmosphere does filter out some short wave energy from the sun, such as extreme ultraviolet and X-rays.
  • In general, the animation provides a good overview of the incoming shortwave radiation from the sun, and Earth radiating long wave Infrared Radiation (IR) once it has been warmed by the short wave visible and IR.
  • Comment from expert scientist: Animation is a clear illustration of the physical process, but should only be used at an entry level.

About the Pedagogy

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Animation is simple and easy to access.
  • This animation contains a short quiz at the end.

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