Greenhouse effect in a jar
You can make a miniature version of the greenhouse effect in a jar!
- 1 x large glass jar (with
- 2 x small thermometers
- 2 x pieces of cardboard slightly larger than the
- 2 x rubber bands
- Place one thermometer on a
piece of cardboard (like a sausage on bread) and secure
a rubber band. Repeat this exercise with the second thermometer.
It is important the thermometer is fully covered by the cardboard so
be protected from the sun. Place the thermometer, wrapped in cardboard,
inside the jar and put the lid on.
- Place the other thermometer
outside the jar but facing down so it is also protected
- Place jar and thermometer on sunny
window-sill making sure that the thermometers are shielded
from direct sunlight by the cardboard they are attached to.
- Record the temperatures of both
thermometers every 10 minutes for an hour or daily for a
week. Present data on graph, table or chart.
Discuss the higher temperature and
reason for it, daily variations resulting from different
light conditions, and how the glass jar has a similar effect
to the greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere.
Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
act like the glass in a greenhouse. They allow sunlight to
pass through to the Earth's surface. When sunlight hits the
Earth it heats the surface. As heat rises, some of it is
trapped by the greenhouse gases. Without the greenhouse gases
creating what is called the natural greenhouse effect, the
atmosphere and climate on Earth would be too cold to sustain
Last updated: 18 June 2009