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9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Chemistry, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Interactive Media
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus


IR Window for Greenhouse Gases

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  • In this activity, students can use an interactive graph to examine the infrared (IR) spectrum of specific greenhouse gases. 
  • Students can see how much IR radiation certain greenhouse gases absorb in our atmosphere based on their current concentrations. 
Teaching Tips


  • Students are able to explore four different graphs and eight different greenhouse gases.
  • Students are able to differentiate how much IR radiation certain greenhouse gases are actually absorbing in our atmosphere.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students must have their devices and an Internet connection to be able to access this activity.
  • Students must be familiar with the greenhouse gases, the greenhouse effect, IR absorption, and global warming potential (GWP).
  • Students and teachers can use the "Help" and "Display Options" menus at the top for additional information.


  • Students could discuss and analyze the table that includes the atmospheric residence time and GWP for the greenhouse gases to discuss how those values affect the ability of different gases to increase global warming.
  • Chemistry or physics teachers could invite students to interpret the graph's curve that is presented in the Black Body Curve option.
  • Other resources related to this topic include a lesson plan about Heating It Up: The Chemistry of the Greenhouse Effect and Greenhouse Gases: A Closer Look.
Scientist Notes
This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS.ESS2.2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
      • HS.ESS2.4 Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.
    • PS4: Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
      • HS.PS4.4 Evaluate the validity and reliability of claims in published materials of the effects that different frequencies of electromagnetic radiation have when absorbed by matter.
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