Which solar energy heats our planet?

The heat source of our planet is the sun.

energy from the sun

is transferred through space and through the Earth's atmosphere to the Earth's surface. Because this energy heats the Earth's surface and atmosphere, some of it is or is converted into thermal energy. The Earth depends on solar radiation to warm the planet.

In general, it depends on the amount of energy that enters and leaves the planet's system.


that reaches Earth can warm the earth, the ocean and the atmosphere. Some of that sunlight is reflected into space by the surface, clouds, or ice. Much of the sunlight that reaches Earth is absorbed and warms the planet.

When Earth emits the same amount of energy it absorbs, its energy budget is in equilibrium and its average temperature remains stable. The tilt of the Earth's axis relative to its orbit around the Sun produces predictable changes in the duration of daylight and the amount of sunlight received at any latitude over a year. These changes cause the annual cycle of seasons and the associated temperature changes. Gradual changes in Earth's rotation and orbit around the sun change the intensity of sunlight received in the polar and equatorial regions of our planet.

For at least the last million years, these changes occurred in 100,000-year cycles that produced glaciations and the shortest warm periods between them. A significant increase or decrease in energy production from the sun would cause the Earth to warm or cool. Satellite measurements taken over the past 30 years show that the Sun's energy production has changed only slightly and in both directions. It is believed that these changes in the energy of the Sun are too small to be the cause of the recent warming observed on Earth.

The sun warms the planet, boosts the hydrological cycle and makes life possible on Earth. The amount of sunlight received on the Earth's surface is affected by the reflectivity of the surface, the angle of the sun, the sunrise, and the cyclical variations of the Earth's orbit around the sun.

High school students can understand the basic science of solar energy

and the role it plays for Earth's climate, but the complexities of Earth's energy balance remain an area of active scientific research. Therefore, this topic is both elementary and complex.

In addition, students of all ages, including college students and adults, have difficulty understanding the causes of seasons. In addition to axial tilt, factors that come into play in people's mental models include the belief that the Earth orbits the Sun in an elongated elliptical trajectory; confusion about the relative size, motion, and distance from Earth to the Sun; how light travels; the duration of the revolution of the Earth around the Sun; and even the period of rotation. One strategy to mitigate this common misconception is to ensure that the reasons for the seasons are adequately addressed in high school, when students have enough experience in geometry and physics to understand the concepts (McCaffrey% 26 Buhr, 200. Solar radiation is the fundamental energy that drives our climate system, and almost every climate and biological process on Earth depends on solar input.

Energy from the sun is essential for many processes on Earth, including surface warming, evaporation, photosynthesis and atmospheric circulation. Therefore, examining how the sun feeds different processes on Earth can be part of many types of science courses. Many of the scientific concepts related to this principle can be addressed by encouraging seasonal observations, participating in citizen science programs with students (such as GLOBE), and periodically reviewing the basics of how the amount and intensity of solar energy affects Earth's climate. The ways in which energy from the Sun powers the climate system can be taught from a very basic level up through the most sophisticated scientific approaches.

Integrative solutions: Scientific concepts related to solar radiation can be expanded to include solar energy engineering and technology, including solar ovens, passive solar design, solar thermal energy and solar electricity. This can help to raise awareness of alternatives to the use of fossil fuels and create a forum for discussion on the solutions to climate change that our society can adopt. What is the role of the Sun in climate change? - NASA provides a readable but authoritative view of why solar activity, solar cycles and sunspots are not related to current climate warming. NASA has a related post that debunks the myth of an impending ice age.

What is it that really warms the world? - This animated graphic compares the different forcings acting on Earth's climate. Climate changes caused by orbital variation, sun luminosity and volcanic emissions are compared to the effect of greenhouse gas emissions. The graph is very attractive and the data comes from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). To view this video, please enable JavaScript and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video.

The material on this page is offered under a Creative Commons license, unless otherwise noted below. CLEAN is funded by grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and NASA. With an average of the entire planet, the amount of sunlight reaching the top of the Earth's atmosphere is only a quarter of the total solar irradiance, or about 340 watts per square meter. Earth returns an equal amount of energy to space by reflecting part of the incoming light and radiating heat (infrared thermal energy).

At night, when the sun sets and the atmosphere cools, the materials release their heat back into the atmosphere. Some of the solar energy that reaches Earth bounces off the atmosphere and clouds and returns to space. This process of generating electricity directly from solar radiation is called photovoltaic or photovoltaic effect. In the polar regions, however, there is an annual energy deficit because the amount of heat radiated into space is greater than the amount of sunlight absorbed.

Agua CalienteThe Agua Caliente Solar Project, in Yuma, Arizona, is the largest photovoltaic array in the world. However, the temperature does not increase infinitely, because Earth's atoms and molecules not only absorb sunlight, but also radiate thermal infrared energy (heat). Man-made forcings include pollution by particulate matter (aerosols), which absorb and reflect incoming sunlight; deforestation, which changes the way the surface reflects and absorbs sunlight; and the increasing concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which decrease the heat radiated into space. Most solar energy is absorbed at the surface, while the atmosphere radiates most of the heat into space.

Because the maximum possible amount of incoming sunlight is fixed by the solar constant (which depends only on the distance from Earth to the Sun and the very small variations during the solar cycle), the natural greenhouse effect does not cause a runaway increase in Earth's surface temperature. Carbon dioxide is not as strong a greenhouse gas as water vapor, but it absorbs energy at wavelengths (12-15 microns) that water vapor does not absorb, partially closing the “window” through which heat radiated from the surface would normally escape into space. These three processes transfer the equivalent of 53 percent of incoming solar energy to the atmosphere. Energy is absorbed by matter, including air, water, rocks, buildings, pavement and living things, and matter heats up as a result.

To modernize or install solar panels on the roof of a building, the roof must be strong, large and facing the path of the sun. . .