Earth's energy balance

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3 Mar 2011
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Geography Lecture #3
January 18, 2011
Earthโ€™s Energy Balance
๎€the sun emits radiation in a spectrum- UV, infared, etc
๎€different gasses absorb different types of radiation
๎€clouds have the property of reflecting radiation to space- wave hits the
cloud and bounces back up to space, doesnโ€™t change wavelength, just
reflects back
๎€white surfaces reflect whereas dark or black surfaces absorb
๎€radiation can get scattered by particles and clouds that bend them
๎€therefore a smaller amount of radiation makes it to the surface
๎€the solar constant is the amount of solar radiation we receive at the top
of the atmosphere
Fate of incoming solar radiation (short wave)
๎€scattering: gas molecules and dust change direction of radiation
without altering wavelength-> diffuse radiation
๎€which is why a cloudy day still allows daylight to be seen
๎€reflection: bounce back to space
๎€we reflect 31% of the radiation [known as Albedo]
๎€absorption: assimilation of radiation by molecules of matter, converted
into other forms of energy
Earthshine/moonshine
๎€earth is pretty bright in space because we are reflecting 31%
๎€the moon reflects 6%
Aerosols
๎€tiny droplets that reflect radiation
๎€they are small particles that exist in the atompshere
๎€we produce a lot of aerosols in our industrial activities
Overall energy balance
๎€in the long run, incoming radiation= outgoing radiation
Heat transfer at the Earthโ€™s surface
๎€45% of incoming solar radiation reaches the Earthโ€™s surface
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Document Summary

Earth"s energy balance the sun emits radiation in a spectrum- uv, infared, etc. different gasses absorb different types of radiation clouds have the property of reflecting radiation to space- wave hits the cloud and bounces back up to space, doesn"t change wavelength, just reflects back. Fate of incoming solar radiation (short wave) scattering: gas molecules and dust change direction of radiation without altering wavelength-> diffuse radiation reflection: bounce back to space. which is why a cloudy day still allows daylight to be seen. we reflect 31% of the radiation [known as albedo] absorption: assimilation of radiation by molecules of matter, converted into other forms of energy. earth is pretty bright in space because we are reflecting 31% the moon reflects 6% Aerosols tiny droplets that reflect radiation they are small particles that exist in the atompshere. we produce a lot of aerosols in our industrial activities.

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