Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

The Greenhouse Effect

Figure from experiment 24 from Earth Science with Vernier


Greenhouses allow gardeners to grow plants in cold weather. This is because the air inside the greenhouse stays warmer than the outside air. Short wavelength radiation from the sun passes through the glass, warming the interior of the greenhouse. The longer-wavelength radiation emitted does not pass through glass and is trapped in the greenhouse. This, along with the lack of mixing between the inside and outside air, keeps the greenhouse consistently warm.

On a larger scale, the greenhouse effect helps keep our planet warm. Short wavelength radiation from the sun passes through the atmosphere, warming the Earth. The longer wavelength energy is then trapped by certain gases called greenhouse gases. The greenhouse gases most responsible are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.

In this experiment, you will use two Temperature Probes to measure and compare the temperatures in model greenhouses under various conditions. In Part I, you will investigate the role of a plastic covering over the top of the model greenhouse. In Part II, you will investigate the effect of increased levels of two greenhouse gases – water vapor, H2O, and carbon dioxide, CO2.


In this experiment, you will

  • Use Temperature Probes to measure temperatures in a model greenhouse and a control.
  • Use the results to make conclusions about the greenhouse effect.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Earth Science with Vernier »

Earth Science with Vernier

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Introduction to Data Collection
2Exploring Magnetism
3Where IS North?
4Searching for Iron Ore
5Sea Floor Spreading
6Soil pH
7Soil Salinity
8Soil and Acid Rain
9Soil Temperature
13Total Dissolved Solids
14Water Treatment
15Salinity of Ocean Water
16Acid Rain and Its Effect on Surface Water
17Freezing of Ocean Water
19Mapping the Ocean Floor
20Are All Sunglasses Created Equal?
21Comparing Sunscreens
22UV Light and Clothing
23Reflection and Absorption of Light
24The Greenhouse Effect
25Land and Sea Breezes
26Relative Humidity
27Dew Point
28Wind Chill
29Seasons and Angle of Insolation
30Fossil Fuels
31Solar Homes
32Photovoltaic Cells
33Wind Power
P1Air Temperature
P2Air Temperature and Relative Humidity
P3Ground Temperature
P4Barometric Pressure
P5Measuring Particulates
P6Weather Stations

Experiment 24 from Earth Science with Vernier Lab Book

<em>Earth Science with Vernier</em> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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