The Earth's energy budget

What is the Earth's energy budget?

Most of the Earth's heat is derived from the sun

There are 4 factors which influence the amount of energy recieved by the Earth from the sun

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The solar constant

  • The rate of which energy reahes the Earth's surface from the sun 
  • Energy is taken to be 1,388 watts per square meter 
  • It varies slightly and affects longer term climate rather than short term weather
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The distance from the sun

  • The difference is about 150 million km but Earth's orbit is elliptical causing up to 6% variation in solar constant 
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The altitude of the sun in the sky

  • The equator recieves more energy as solar radiation strikes the Earth head on 
  • At 60 degrees N and S it approaches more oblique angle, giving twice the area to heat up and more atmosphere to pass through 
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The length of day and night

  • The 23.5% tilt of the Earth means that regions near the poles recieve no insolation
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