Lesson 1 Activity 2 - Preview the model

In this activity, students will be introduced to the Greenhouse Gas base computer model and how to run it.
  • Watch the video Introduction to the Greenhouse Gas base model
  • Run the base model
  • Reflect on temperature fluctuations

Introduction to the Greenhouse Gas base model

Run the model and observe temperature variations

  • Run the model, www.slnova.org/GUTS/projects/22078, clicking the setup button to set up the world. Press forever and watch what happens in the Spaceland view. Have students describe what they see when you run the model. Run the model a few times and have students note the final temperature.
  • Ask, “What do you notice about the temperature, seen in the graph?”  If you hit “show graph,” a graph showing the temperature will show a drastic increase. This is because the model is not yet in equilibrium. First the world needs to come up to temperature, and then it stabilizes. It keeps fluctuating due to randomness in the model.
  • Use the Model Observation form to record your observations.
  • Explain that they will be exploring the model further in future lessons.

Quiz questions:

1 point
Which of the following happens when the solar radiation reaches the surface of the world?

1 point
How does the heat behave on the graph?


What are the advantages of using computer models to study climate?  Post your reflection and your model observation form in your portfolio in the section "Reflections->Computer Modeling and Simulation" under the heading "Modeling climate."