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Global Warming Science – Time to go back to school?

Here at Naturesave, we thought we would offer you a simple climate change experiment, one that you can perform at home, and one that will clearly demonstrate what happens when the levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere increase. Why do we feel the need to do this?

Well, the fundamentals of climate change have been understood for decades. Yet with Donald Trump pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement, it seems there are many some have not quite yet accepted the science. Even at home, recent research reveals that one in eight (13%) of Brits admit they don’t think global warming is real – that’s 8.5 million people, or roughly the population of London.

The greenhouse gasses, CO2 and methane, are naturally occurring in limited amounts and help keep our atmosphere at just the right temperature to sustain life as we know it. Unfortunately if we produce an excess of these gasses, the global average temperature will rise, leading to a catalogue of potentially serious problems.

The science is quite simple. Before human economic activity began to increase, the earth was able to maintain a relatively stable temperature by reflecting back much of the suns solar energy. About one third of this solar radiation is immediately reflected straight back into space. The rest is absorbed by into the oceans and the land before being released into the atmosphere as thermal radiation, which then passes out into space

The problem with gasses like CO2 and methane, is their ability to trap solar radiation within our atmosphere, preventing it from being reflected back into space. Increasing the presence of these gasses holds more heat in the atmosphere, causing it to heat up, just like a greenhouse.

Follow the steps below, to perform the experiment to demonstrate the impact of a build up of greenhouse gasses.

What you will need: –

  • 2 identical large clear plastic bottle
  • Two thermometers
    • (either a traditional type or digital temperature probes)
  • Two spotlights of equal intensity.
    • You could always use one, in-between the two bottles)
  • Blue tac or plasticine (to seal the bottles)
  • 1 small bottle for CO2 collection
  • Malt vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • 1 balloon

How long will it take – Less than an hour

When and where to carry it out – At home, at school, at dinner parties, just about anywhere really.

Ok, Lets do it

Step 1

Cut the top of each plastic bottle, place a thermometer into each and seal with sticky tape. Ensure the thermometers are positioned in the same manor in each bottle. (As an option you can add a similar amount of water in each bottle. This improves stability and acts to simulate the water on our planet). Seal both bottles with the blue tac.

Step 2

Place the light source at an equal distance in front of each plastic bottle. You have now created two simulated atmospheres that represent the earth. One bottle will be left to contain regular air. In the second you need to add a source of CO2.

Step 3

Record the temperature in both test bottles before commencing the experiment.

Step 4

Preparing the CO2 source. Pour the vinegar into the small plastic bottle. (Fill it by approximately one fifth). Then, take the balloon and add two heaped teaspoons of baking soda into the balloon. Carefully place the balloon over the neck of the bottle, ensuring it is sealed. When ready, lift up the balloon so the baking soda contents falls into the bottle. The reaction will then produce CO2, which will fill the balloon.

Step 5

Adding the greenhouse gas (the CO2). Remove the balloon from the source bottle, being careful not to let the gas escape. Now attach the balloon over the neck of one of the test bottles. Note, it can help to squeeze in the sides of the bottle a little beforehand, this helps when adding add the CO2. Remove the balloon and replace the seal immediately.

Step 6

Your global warming simulation has now begun. Record the temperature in both bottles every minute for 10 minutes. In this experiment, the test bottles represent our atmosphere. The different levels of CO2 between the bottles should demonstrate what happens when greenhouse gas levels increase. As you will observe the bottle with the added CO2 will experience a greater temperature increase, as the COacts to traps the energy supplied by the lamp.

We think this experiment clearly proves the impact of an increase in greenhouse gasses. If you want further evidence, that explores the impact of human activity on causing climate change, we recommend using this tool created at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies – NASA Interactive Visualisation.

Plymouth Energy Community’s Warm and Well programme show how to engage people creatively and practically

‘Stay Warm and Well’ Event with Highbury Trust was ‘Reindeerlicious!

The day was packed with activities and tips on how to tackle cold and damp homes, reduce bills and access help to stay warm if needed.

The unanimous highlight of the day was the chance to make Christmas themed draught excluders – and you can easily see why!

You can make one too if you follow the steps in our guide which you can download by clicking here

Paintsmiths visit Heron Road by Felix ‘FLX’ Braun and Jack ‘Dones’

The Scaffolding recently came down on a new mural from Paintsmiths which, for this work, was Felix and Jack Tiernay for Bristol City Council and the Warm Up Bristol Campaign show home over at 56 Heron Road, Easton, BS5.

The mural itself is a stunning piece of work showing off the house itself and lots of examples of the old types of energy and the new sustainable energies that are now available.


Visit Warm Up Bristol’s show home

We’ve created a show home in Easton so that you can see first hand how you can make your home warmer with energy saving insulation and other measures. Come along and find out what a difference our energy saving measures can make!

Show home opening times?

You will be able to visit the property at 56 Heron Road, Easton, BS5 0LU throughout 2016 on the following days:

  • Tuesday: 9.30 – 4.30
  • Thursday: 9.30 – 4.30
  • Saturday: 10.30 – 2.30

Why visit the show home?

At our show home you will be able to see what energy saving measures can be installed in a Victorian era mid-terrace property. We have installed underfloor insulation throughout the ground floor, new insulation to the bathroom ceiling/roof space, internal wall insulation in the kitchen and bathroom and external wall insulation to the front and back of the property. We have new double-glazed windows that have humidity reactive trickle vents, a passive ventilation unit in the kitchen and bathroom and many simpler and cheaper to install measures including low flow taps and draught-proofing. The show home has been retrofitted with new energy saving improvements by one of Bristol’s SME’s Urbane ECO and was funded via Warm Up Bristol.

Our community partners, Easton Energy Group, are managing the property and will be there to explain the different measures available, show you samples and help you register for our initiative. They will also be hosting other activities such as knit and natter sessions and hosting the travelling seamstress who will help you make your own draught-proofing sausage dog as a cheap and simple way to keep those draughts at bay and make your home warmer to live in.