Global Greenhouse Games

Posted by: on May 21, 2013 | No Comments

A simple but effective experiment which replicates a global-scale effect on the table top and helps to explain an important aspect of atmospheric science.

You will need: global worming

• A tall plastic fizzy drinks bottle

• Glass jar small enough to fit inside the bottle

• Scissors

• Thermometer


1. Use the scissors to cut the bottom off the plastic bottle. Remove the label, but leave the top on.

2. Stand the thermometer inside a jar, place it in a sunny spot, and check the temperature in an hour.

3. Put the bottle over the jar and leave it for another hour. Check its temperature, and compare with the earlier temperature.


What’s Happening?

The second temperature is considerably warmer than the first. That’s because the solar energy passing into the bottle has been turned into heat that can’t escape. The earth’s atmosphere serves a similar function as the bottle — it allows the sun’s energy to pass through, then keeps most it from escaping into space.

This ‘greenhouse effect’ enables life to exist on Earth. However, most scientists are concerned that a build-up of pollutants in the atmosphere is having the effect of holding onto too much of the sun’s heat energy and heating up the Earth beyond normal limits. Simply put, this is known as Global Warming.


Have Fun.


Thanks to and adapted from