Kōrero: Atmosphere

Vibrating molecules

Vibrating molecules

Because of their particular molecular structure, greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are good at absorbing infrared radiation that is heading from the earth towards space. When they absorb energy the molecules heat up, rotating and vibrating more. They also bang into one another, releasing energy. This animated diagram illustrates the different ways in which carbon dioxide molecules vibrate and rotate when they absorb energy. This process heats up the atmosphere.

Using this item

Widener University
Animation by Marty Schultz

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Me pēnei te tohu i te whārangi:

Bill Allan, Katja Riedel, Richard McKenzie, Sylvia Nichol and Tom Clarkson, 'Atmosphere - Greenhouse gases', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/mi/diagram/6142/vibrating-molecules (accessed 19 October 2019)

Story by Bill Allan, Katja Riedel, Richard McKenzie, Sylvia Nichol and Tom Clarkson, published 12 Jun 2006