Archive for the ‘Climate Change’ category

Gettin’ Energetic!

August 25, 2012

We’ve done a lot of study into energy this semester. We are working through our STELR books (link to PDF), and have looked at the idea of Global Warming, Energy storage and types of energy, Efficiency of conversion of energy from one type to another and we’ve done quite a few experiments.

You should be getting the idea that this is all about energy by now – how energy is used, how energy is produced, how energy can be converted into different forms and how energy can be lost when it is changed from one type to another.

Some of you saw this really clearly when you worked with the first big experiment, looking at how we can produce energy. Perhaps when you saw the bright lights shining on the solar panel gave enough energy to light up a small bulb, or perhaps when you saw the big fan (on high) could turn the wind turbine to make enough electricity to run a small fan…


Energising Alternatives!

May 27, 2012

We have spent the last two weeks studying the mechanisms behind the greenhouse effect, and also the enhanced greenhouse effect. Remember that the greenhouse effect is a natural part of Earth’s atmosphere – it helps capture heat from the Sun, and means that Earth’s climate is suitable for human life.

You need to understand that the reason that the Earth’s is habitable is that it is at a very special distance from our Sun. The Energy that our Sun gives off provides enough heat at the distance that the Earth orbits to keep water liquid. If we were much closer, water would boil into steam (like Mercury or Venus), and if we were much futher away, water would freeze into ice (like Mars or the other outer planets). This is the so-called “Habitable Zone” (or sometimes the “Goldilocks Zone” – because it is not too hot, not too cold, it’s just right) of our Sun. Earth is on the outer edge of this zone, and so the natural ability of the Earth’s atmosphere to store heat keeps the Earth environment survivable. (If you want to know more about this, try these links: 1, 2, 3, 4)