International Year of Chemistry, 2011

UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization IUPAC - International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry

Partners for the
International Year of Chemistry 2011

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Climate Change

A set of peer-reviewed, interactive, web-based materials to help learners visualize and understand the underlying science of climate change

On March 20th, 2010, the Icelandic glacier volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted and emitted 250 million cubic meters of ash into the Earth’s atmosphere. Historically, every time that Eyjafjallajökull erupted, its powerful sister volcano Katla also erupted, emitting at least 10 times as much ash as Eyjafjallajökull. Have you ever asked yourself what effect might this ash have on the earth’s temperature? or how does the Earth’s energy balance regulate climate?

In this lesson –lesson 4 of – you will explore how factors ranging from atmospheric ash particles to natural vegetation can impact the amount of energy that enters and exits Earth’s atmosphere. This balance, known as the earth’s radiation balance, ultimately regulates our planet’s climate.

This lesson is 1 of 9 in the interactive web platform Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change is a legacy contribution to IYC2011. The UN IYC resolution stresses that “education in and about chemistry is critical in addressing challenges such as global climate change, in providing sustainable sources of clean water, food and energy and in maintaining a wholesome environment for the well being of all people…” Recognizing that the chemistry profession and chemistry educators play a crucial role in creating understanding about global climate change and working toward solutions, the materials include a special emphasis on the role fundamental chemistry plays in processes affecting earth’s radiation balance.

[photo: Peter Mahaffy leading the IUPAC/UNESCO workshop on the subject, with chemistry professors and teachers from around Ethiopia during the IYC launch week of Feb 21-24 in Addis Ababa]

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