Mini Lesson

Analyzing Surface Temperature Differences

Mini Lesson

Observe the image below and answer the following questions.

Surface Temperature Differences
Direct sunlight can heat surfaces well above air temperature
Click here for an enlarged image.
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory photographed by Robert Simmon

  1. What time of year do you predict this to be?  Explain your evidence. 
  2.  What is the temperature of the air?   
  3. How do the grass temperatures taken in the sunlight differ from the ones taken from the same surface in the shade?  
  4.  What is the temperature difference between sunlit concrete and shaded concrete? What does this difference in temperature tell you about how surfaces are heated? 
  5. Based on what you have seen in this image, which type of area do you think is warmer, urban areas (cities and towns) or rural areas (country sides)?  Why.  
  6. Write the words "Urban Heat Island" in the center of the Graphic Organizer. Describe the impact you think these differences could have on the Earth spheres: Atmosphere, Biosphere, Cryosphere, Geosphere, and Hydrosphere. Use the graphic organizer provided. 

graphic organizer

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Teacher Note

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