March 30, 2013
Solar Activity Impact On Earth Climate
When it comes to talking about climate, one of the first and most important things to talk about is the Sun itself and how it impacts our Earth. So as we start with the basics of the Sun, we first must understand that when the Sun releases its solar energy, that energy is sent towards the Earth. Now, if we examine the first letter in the image below, we will see letter “A” represents incoming solar radiation that heads right towards the Earth. This is the radiation you feel when you get sunburned. The letter “B” represents the rays that make it and are absorbed into the Earth’s surface. Remember that when you are sitting on the ocean, or a body of water, and the wind is light and the waves are pretty much calm, you are going to have a higher chance of getting sunburned. That is because these rays are being absorbed by the Earth. Also, when you look at a green grass surface verses the dark soil field, we see that the grass one heats up slower than the dirt soil does; that is because of the Albedo of the object.
Now we move on to letter “C” in the image. Here we find that clouds also reflect some of the sunlight that is headed towards the Earth, preventing it from even reaching the planet. If we move on to letter “D,” we will see that this represents solar energy that just gets lost in the atmosphere, not making it to the Earth’s surface. Letter “E” is the energy that is being scattered off the Earth’s surface and back to outerspace. This is why on clear nights it gets colder. and on clear days it gets warmer, because of the combination of letters E and A.
Lastly, the most important letter of all of them is “F.” The reason this one is so important is because if you have ever heard the word “greenhouse” before, this is the process that leads to that. What we see is that the energy initially leaves the Earth’s surface, however the clouds move in and now the energy hits those clouds and is reflected back to the Earth’s surface. This process keeps going on and on. This is also why on cloudy days you can still get sunburned. Also, this is why some thunderstorms can keep going through the night, because of this process right here, of the heat being trapped near the Earth’s surface.
Featured Image Credit: Computer Earth / Shutterstock