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Cooling factors

Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal

This qualitative graphic illustrates the various factors that affect the amount of solar radiation hitting or being absorbed by Earth's surface such as aerosols, clouds, and albedo.

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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Can be used to teach about albedo.
  • Educator may need to look further into albedo - open water also reflects and ice also absorbs, but it's the relative effect; also explore with students how albedo works.
  • Educator may need to alleviate confusion about how aerosols are both reflecting and absorbing energy.

About the Science

  • Good visual of the radiative budget without any quantification of the effect of each of the factors.
  • Because factors are not quantified, the graph stays current (publication date 2000).
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • This visualization can act as the seed for a discussion of the effect of these various cooling factors on climate change.

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