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Global Warming

In this worksheet, students will look into the greenhouse effect and other environmental issues and discuss the question 'What is global warming?'

'Global Warming' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:   Chemistry: Earth and Atmosphere

Curriculum subtopic:   Human Activity and Climate

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

What is Global Warming?

 

Global warming is a rise in the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere. It is thought that in the next hundred years the Earth will be around 6 degrees hotter than it is now.


Why?

 

The Earth's atmosphere is surrounded by a layer of gases that allow heat from the sun to get in and out, but still maintaining the Earth at the right temperature for humans, animals and plants to survive.

 

This layer of gases is made up of the following greenhouse gases:

 

  • water vapour
  • carbon dioxide
  • methane
  • nitrous oxide
  • ozone
  • chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

 

Most of these gases occur naturally; however, extra greenhouses gases have been produced by humans from pollution. This has caused the layer of gases to get thicker, which causes something known as the greenhouse effect

 

 

The Greenhouse Effect

 

Greenhouse Gas graphic

 

The diagram above shows the greenhouse effect where the heat from the sun passes through the atmosphere to heat the Earth's surface. 

 

Normally, the many of the sun's rays would simply bounce off the surface and head back out of the Earth's atmosphere; however, this is now becoming a problem. The layer of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere blocks some of the sun's rays from getting out, meaning that they are reflected back to Earth to heat the surface once again. 

 

The layer of gas acts like the glass in a greenhouse (hence the name!) - it lets the heat in but does not all of it let it back out.


 

Where are these extra greenhouse gases coming from?

 

The burning of 'fossil fuels' produces carbon dioxide, water vapour and nitrous oxide.

 

You can see from the graph below that the CO2 levels clearly go up and down but, since the industrial revolution, the they have rocketed to a much higher level than ever before.  The green line (at 350ppm) shows what many scientists think is a safer level of CO2.

 

Global Warming graph

 

 

The cutting down of trees and rainforests is also increasing the CO2 and water vapour levels as the plants that would absorb them are being destroyed. 

 

Natural animal waste will let off methane and the increasing human population means increased farming, leading to an increase in animals/animal waste.


 
What about ozone?

 

Ozone (O3) is a substance that naturally exists in our atmosphere. Its job is to block out the harmful UV rays from the sun. 

 

The ozone layer, however, did become damaged due to chemicals called CFC's (chlorofluorocarbons). These chemicals were once used as refrigerants and in aerosol cans.  

Aerosol spray can

 

CFC's were widely used until scientists found that a hole had developed in the ozone layer.  It turned out that it had been caused by CFC's in the atmosphere. Since then, all CFC's have been banned and, wonderfully, the ozone layer has now repaired itself and the harmful rays are still being blocked out.


 
So what could happen?

 

If the Earth's temperature rises this could lead to:

 

  • Polar ice caps melting causing sea levels to rise
  • Flooding
  • Lakes and rivers drying up, killing the aquatic life that once lived there
  • More droughts making it harder to grow crops
  • Less water for drinking, cleaning and growing crops
  • The loss of some plants and animal species due to the heat and dry conditions
  • Hurricanes, tornadoes and other storms (which are caused by changes in heat and water evaporation) may get more common.
     

 

What can we do to help?

 

The world leaders in the UN have agreed to try to reduce the CO2 levels in the atmosphere by the use of alternative clean fuels such as solar and wind power.

 

Saving water and energy is a big thing and can be helped by:

 

  • Switching off all electrical appliances when they are not being used (don't leave on standby)
  • Using energy-saving light bulbs
  • Washing clothes at 40 degrees or below
  • ... and many, many more.  

 

Have a look around your house and see how good you are at energy-saving!  Now we will check out some questions on Global Warming.

Which of the following are greenhouse gases? Tick four boxes.

carbon dioxide

oxygen

ozone

methane

nitrogen

water vapour

ice

hydrogen

What is being described by the statement below?

 

'The sun's rays enter the Earth's atmosphere and heat the surface; however, when they try to leave the atmosphere, some of them are blocked by a layer of gases that reflect them back to heat the Earth's surface once again.'

water pollution

the greenhouse effect

acid rain

The diagram below shows the change in carbon dioxide levels over 400 000 years:

 

Global Warming graph

 

What caused the sharp rise to over 350 ppm of CO2?

the development of solar panels

the planting of new trees and forests

the ozone layer

the Industrial Revolution

What caused the hole in the ozone layer to form?

burning fossil fuels

cars

CFC's

the cutting down of trees and forests

Is the following statement true or false?

 

Methane is naturally produced through animal waste.

true

false

Ozone is a molecule made up of oxygen that is found in the atmosphere. What is the formula for ozone?

O2

CO2

O3

O4

The increased use of chemicals called CFC's had a serious impact on our environment.

 

What were CFC's used for? Tick two boxes.

aserosols

pesticides

medicines

refrigerants

making food

Which of the following energy solutions would not increase the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

 

Tick three boxes.

coal

hydrogen

solar power

oil

biogas (methane etc...)

wind power

What is the advantage of the ozone layer to life on Earth?

to let some of the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere

to block out the sun's harmful rays

to block out all of the sun's heat

to let all of the sun's rays into the Earth's atmosphere

Hydrogen fuel is a 'clean' alternative to fossil fuels as it does not produce carbon dioxide when burned. What disadvantage is there for hydrogen fuel? 

it produces other harmful gases when burned

it is highly flammable

it does not burn well

it is a finite resource

  • Question 1

Which of the following are greenhouse gases? Tick four boxes.

CORRECT ANSWER
carbon dioxide
ozone
methane
water vapour
EDDIE SAYS
Carbon dioxide, ozone, methane and water vapour are all greenhouse gases, and they are forming a layer around the Earth and keeping the sun's heat in, causing our planet to gradually get hotter.
  • Question 2

What is being described by the statement below?

 

'The sun's rays enter the Earth's atmosphere and heat the surface; however, when they try to leave the atmosphere, some of them are blocked by a layer of gases that reflect them back to heat the Earth's surface once again.'

CORRECT ANSWER
the greenhouse effect
EDDIE SAYS
The process being described is the greenhouse effect, which is gradually warming our planet.
  • Question 3

The diagram below shows the change in carbon dioxide levels over 400 000 years:

 

Global Warming graph

 

What caused the sharp rise to over 350 ppm of CO2?

CORRECT ANSWER
the Industrial Revolution
EDDIE SAYS
The Industrial Revolution is responsible for the sharp increase in carbon dioxide, due to the increased burning of fossil fuels and the use of cars, planes etc.
  • Question 4

What caused the hole in the ozone layer to form?

CORRECT ANSWER
CFC's
EDDIE SAYS
CFC's were the chemicals responsible for the hole in the ozone layer. They used to be used in aerosol cans and as a refrigerant in fridges and freezers.
  • Question 5

Is the following statement true or false?

 

Methane is naturally produced through animal waste.

CORRECT ANSWER
true
EDDIE SAYS
Methane is a naturally-produced gas. Cattle produce loads of methane through their digestion, releasing about 100kg/cow/year. Worringly, methane is over 20 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
  • Question 6

Ozone is a molecule made up of oxygen that is found in the atmosphere. What is the formula for ozone?

CORRECT ANSWER
O3
EDDIE SAYS
The formula for ozone is O3. That's three oxygen atoms bonded together, which is much more unstable than the familiar oxygen molecule O2.
  • Question 7

The increased use of chemicals called CFC's had a serious impact on our environment.

 

What were CFC's used for? Tick two boxes.

CORRECT ANSWER
aserosols
refrigerants
EDDIE SAYS
CFC's were widely used as refrigerants (in fridges, freezers, air-conditioning systems, etc.) and in aerosols (where they acted as the propellant).
  • Question 8

Which of the following energy solutions would not increase the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

 

Tick three boxes.

CORRECT ANSWER
hydrogen
solar power
wind power
EDDIE SAYS
Hydrogen (only product is water vapour), solar power (converting light into electricity) and wind power (converting motion into electricity) would not increase the levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere. However, we need to find ways of helping to remove the excess greenhouse gases that are already there.
  • Question 9

What is the advantage of the ozone layer to life on Earth?

CORRECT ANSWER
to block out the sun's harmful rays
EDDIE SAYS
The presence of the ozone later protects the Earth's surface and prevents the sun's harmful rays from harming life on our planet.
  • Question 10

Hydrogen fuel is a 'clean' alternative to fossil fuels as it does not produce carbon dioxide when burned. What disadvantage is there for hydrogen fuel? 

CORRECT ANSWER
it is highly flammable
EDDIE SAYS
Hydrogen power only produces water when burned so is classed as a 'clean' fuel. It is readily available due to the vast amount of water on Earth. The main problems are that hydrogen is highly flammable and can be difficult to transport as liquid hydrogen is stored at minus 250°C!
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