March 26, 2011
We’re not the only ones who need to keep a balanced budget. Just like we all have budgets, the Earth has one too. If we spend too much money, our household budget gets out of balance. Likewise, with tons of excess carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, the Earth’s energy budget gets out of balance. Lin Chambers from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center spoke with us today about how changes in the atmosphere (like humans adding literally tons of CO2 to the atmosphere every year) can affect the climate.
So it works both ways – humans can affect the climate, and the climate affects us. We went outside and proved that for ourselves, and used Vernier temperature probes to record the temperatures of a variety of different materials and colors. Higher temperatures were recorded for darker colors, proving that old piece of advice you always get in the summer – wear a white shirt in the sun, not a black one. And what is one of the great things about the icy, white polar regions? They are like a white shirt for the Earth. If they melt, it unbalances the Earth’s budget even more. We all have to work on balancing this budget!