Aim This experiment is aimed at understanding the effects of global warming by applying a small scale experiment through the use of a simple greenhouse model. Introduction Global warming is a worldwide phenomenon that has caused the alarm of many scientists because it gives “a collective picture of a warming world and other changes in the climate system”. This phenomenon has introduced the so-called “greenhouse effect” to occur within Earth’s atmosphere because the gases in our atmosphere, especially water vapor and carbon dioxide, act very much like the glass in the greenhouse.
They allow solar radiation to enter, where it is absorbed by the objects inside. These objects, in turn radiate back the heat, to which glass cannot let the heat escape. Thus, heat is trapped in our atmosphere just like what happens in the greenhouse. To understand the mechanism of how greenhouse effect works, this experiment can be useful in studying how warm air can cause temperatures to rise by using a simple model. Research Question Which plastic bag will have a warmer temperature — the one with the plant inside or the one with only wet soil inside? Hypothesis
It is hypothesized that the temperature inside the two plastic bags would rise in the middle of the day. However, the plastic bag with a plant inside is expected to have considerably higher temperature readings than the plastic bag that only contains wet soil. Variables Independent: Time Dependent: Temperature Materials – 2 plastic bags w/ rubber bands – plant – 2 thermometers – record sheet – stopwatch Methods 1. Prepare the first plastic bag by placing the plant and thermometer inside. 2. To ensure that air would not escape from the first plastic bag, a rubber band should be used to seal it. 3.
On the second plastic bag, wet soil and another thermometer will be placed inside. The second plastic bag will be sealed also using a rubber band. 4. The two plastic bags will be placed outside and will be exposed under the sun. 5. Using the stopwatch, temperature will be recorded every 30 minutes until it reaches 2 hours. Figure 1. Temperature (in Celsius) differences of the two plastic bags exposed under the sun. Analysis Based on the recorded results and the graphical representation, it can be seen that the plastic bag with a plant inside attained higher temperature readings than the plastic bag that contains wet soil.
Although that the two bags had nearly equal temperature during the initial and 30 minutes readings, the plastic bag with wet soil remained at 33 Celsius while the plastic bag with a plant continued to rise considerably. We can assume that the plastic bag with a plant has accumulated heat that is trapped inside that caused the temperature to go higher. Being a living thing, a plant undergoes respiration and photosynthesis that produce gases like oxygen and dioxide. Plants can also produce water vapor during these processes and this explains why the temperature rose as time went by.
Gases like carbon dioxide and water vapor has been accounted to play major roles in the greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide and water vapor acts like the glass roof in the greenhouse that traps heat from exiting Earth’s troposphere. In effect, global warming occurs because too much heat accumulates in the atmosphere. In the experiment, it was seen that greenhouse effect also happened inside the plastic bag with plant because heat accumulated inside. As gases inside trap the heat, the temperature inside the plastic bag with plant continued to rise.
Conclusion Through the experiment, it can be concluded that global warming can be represented using this simple experiment. As explained by the greenhouse effect, the plastic bag with a plant has trapped heat inside through the accumulation of carbon dioxide and water vapor. The gases and water vapor serves like the glass roof of a greenhouse that traps heat from escaping out. The same happens to Earth’s atmosphere. With the extreme use of fossil fuels, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide accumulates in our atmosphere.
These gases trap the heat from escaping outside the troposphere and this causes the global warming experienced around the world. Thus, the hypothesis was successfully proven as exemplified by Figure 1. It can be seen that there is a remarkable increase in the temperature when a plant is placed inside the plastic bag because it gives off carbon dioxide when it undergoes respiration.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, 2001. 03 Mar. 2008. <http://www. atmos. umd. edu/~owen/METO123/IPCC2001/index. html>.