Atmospheric Radiation: The Earth receives energy from the sun (on average W/m2) and emits the same amount to space. The energy balance of planet. Light from the Sun warms our planet. Earth radiates heat out into the frigid vacuum of space. There is a balance between this warming and cooling that. Earth's energy budget accounts for the balance between the energy Earth receives from the Sun, the energy Earth radiates back into outer space after having been distributed throughout the five components of Earth's climate system and having thus powered the so-called Earth's heat engine.‎Energy budget · ‎Earth's energy imbalance · ‎Climate sensitivity.


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Radiative forcing A change in the incident radiated portion of the energy budget is referred to as a radiative forcing. Climate sensitivity is the steady state change in the equilibrium temperature as a result of changes in the energy budget.

Climate forcings energy balance of the earth global warming[ edit ] Expected Earth energy imbalance for three choices of aerosol climate forcing.

Measured imbalance, close to 0. Natural climate forcings include changes in the Sun's brightness, Milankovitch cycles small variations in the shape of Earth's orbit and its axis of rotation that occur over thousands of years and volcanic eruptions that inject light-reflecting particles as high as the stratosphere.

Man-made forcings include particle pollution aerosols that absorb and reflect incoming sunlight; deforestationwhich changes how the surface reflects and absorbs sunlight; and energy balance of the earth rising concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which decreases the rate at which heat is radiated to space.


A forcing can trigger feedbacks that intensify positive feedback or weaken negative feedback the original forcing. For example, loss of ice at the poles, which makes them less reflective, causes greater absorption of energy and so increases the rate at which the ice melts, is an example of a positive feedback.

Earth's energy budget - Wikipedia

The impact of anthropogenic aerosols has not been quantified, but individual aerosol types are thought to have substantial heating and cooling effects.

This time delay is sometimes called "thermal inertia. This emitted energy is reabsorbed by clouds and energy balance of the earth the gases in the atmosphere.

Some of it gets redistributed by convection.

The Earth-Atmosphere Energy Balance

Even more energy is released into the atmosphere through condensation. The majority of the energy is reabsorbed by the greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, carbon dioxide and water vapor. On a global scale, the atmosphere's circulation and weather is an attempt to balance differences in solar energy that the energy balance of the earth receives across the globe.

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Sunlight at the tropics is intense and direct and a lot of heating of land, atmosphere, and oceans occur there. Sunlight in the polar regions is weak and indirect and does not do a good job of heating up the region.

There are however important variations in this flux over longer, so-called "geological", time scales, to which the Earth glaciation cycles are attributed. Effect of Earth's spherical shape: If the Earth were a disk with its surface perpendicular to the rays of energy balance of the earth, each point on it would receive the same amount of radiation, an energy flux equal to the solar constant.

Earth's Energy Balance | UCAR Center for Science Education

However, the Earth is a sphere and aside from the part closest to the sun, where the rays of sunlight are perpendicular to the ground, its surface tilts with respect to the incoming rays of energy with the regions furthest away aligned in parallel to the radiation and thus receiving no energy at all Figure 5.

The tilt of the Earth's axis and the seasons: If the axis of Earth was perpendicular to the plane of its orbit and the direction of incoming rays of sunlightthen the radiative energy flux would drop as the cosine of latitude as we move from equator to pole.

However, as seen in Figure 6the Earth axis tilts at an angle of Once a year, on the Summer Solstice on or about energy balance of the earth 21st of Junethe Energy balance of the earth Pole points directly towards the Sun and the South Pole is entirely hidden from the incoming radiation.

Half a year from that day, on the Winter Solstice on or about the 21st of December the North Pole points away from the Sun and does not receive any sunlight while the South Pole receives 24 hours of continued sunlight.


During Solstices, incoming radiation is perpendicular to the Earth surface on either the latitude of Cancer or the latitude of Capricorn, During the spring and fall on the Equinox days, the 21st of March and 23rd of September the Earth's axis tilts in parallel to the Sun and both Polar Regions get the energy balance of the earth amount of light.

At that time the radiation is largest at the true equator. Averaged over a full hour period, the amount of incoming radiation varies with latitude and season as shown in Figure 7.

Note that the figure combines the effect of the change in incidence angle with latitude and time of year and the number of hours of sunlight during the day. At the poles, during solstice, the earth is either exposed to sunlight over the entire hours day or is completely hidden from the Sun throughout the entire day.

This is why the poles get energy balance of the earth incoming radiation during their respective winter or more than the maximum radiation at the equator during their respective summer. The Earth Radiation Budget Part 2: