Physical Science 101
Solar Interactions


The capacity to do work.
Common forms of energy include:
Kinetic Energy:
Potential Energy:


The study of the behavior of heat and heat transfer.
Heat always flows from warmer areas to cooler areas T
hermal energy flows from areas of higher energy to areas of lower energy
Heat is transferred by:

Incoming Solar Radiation

Radiation transmitted by the Sun and received on Earth:
Earth only receives radiation from the Sun on one half of the sphere.
9% ultraviolet radiation
41% visible radiation
50% infrared radiation

Outgoing Radiation: Earth into Space

Approximately 1/3 of all incoming radiation is reflected directly back into space.
Visible, IR and UV radiation are absorbed by Earth, reemitted as infrared radiation.
Radiation is lost to space on both the night side and day side of the sphere.
Three major dips in the outgoing radiation curve occur.
What's Missing?

Heat Budget

Global Radiation Balance: The amount of incoming solar radiation equals the amount of outgoing radiation.
Changes in the amounts of incoming radiation vs. outgoing radiation can have dramatic effects on the global climate.

Incoming Solar Radiation

What happens to solar radiation?

Radiation Pathways

Incoming Radiation
Outgoing Radiation

Net Radiation

The Global Energy Balance is a global average.
Radiation is only received on one half of the globe.
Energy is being lost on all parts of the globe.
Equatorial regions receive more radiation than polar regions.
Polar regions loose more radiation than they receive.
Excess energy from the equator must be moved to the polar regions.