Which Type of Energy is Emitted from Earth to the Atmosphere After Absorption?

Published on: May 17, 2023
Written by Nolan Miles / Fact-checked by Porimol Sorkar

The Earth, like any other planet, plays a vital role in absorbing and re-emitting energy to maintain a delicate balance. This balance keeps our planet’s climate suitable for life as we know it. Ever wondered what kind of energy is emitted from Earth to the atmosphere after absorption? Let’s unravel this fascinating aspect of our planet!

The Earth’s Energy Balance

Solar Energy Absorption

The journey begins with the sun. About half of the solar energy reaching Earth’s surface is absorbed by the land and oceans. This energy warms the Earth and is then radiated back into the atmosphere.

Terrestrial Energy Absorption

Not all of the energy stays on Earth, though. Some of it is absorbed by the atmosphere, where various processes occur.

Types of Energy Emitted by Earth

Radiation

Longwave Radiation

After the Earth’s surface absorbs solar energy, it radiates part of the energy back as a longer wavelength known as longwave or infrared radiation. The atmosphere absorbs a large portion of this radiated energy and re-emits it back to Earth and into space.

Shortwave Radiation

The Earth also reflects a portion of incoming shortwave radiation from the sun back into space without absorbing it. This is known as Earth’s albedo.

Conduction

Conduction is the process where heat energy is transferred from the Earth’s surface to the air in contact with it. It’s like when you touch a hot mug—your hand gets warm, right?

Convection

Convection, on the other hand, is the process by which heat is transferred by the movement of mass from one place to another—it could be vertically or horizontally.

Impact of Emitted Energy on the Atmosphere

The energy emitted from the Earth into the atmosphere has profound impacts on many levels, ultimately shaping our climate, weather, and life on Earth. This energy cycle is a crucial factor in determining the overall state of our planet’s environment.

Weather Formation

The first significant impact of the Earth’s energy emission is on weather patterns. The energy emitted from the Earth’s surface warms the atmosphere, creating temperature differences. These temperature differences cause air movements, leading to wind. The heat energy also causes water to evaporate, forming clouds and leading to precipitation, forming part of the Earth’s water cycle.

Cloud Cover and Albedo

Clouds play a dual role in the Earth’s energy balance. On one hand, they reflect incoming solar radiation back to space, increasing the Earth’s albedo (reflectivity), which cools the planet. On the other hand, clouds absorb and emit infrared radiation from the Earth, contributing to warming the atmosphere. The overall effect of clouds on the Earth’s temperature depends on the type and height of the cloud cover.

Atmospheric Composition

The emitted energy also influences the atmosphere’s composition. Infrared radiation absorbed by greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor, leads to the re-emission of energy in all directions, including back towards the Earth’s surface. This process, known as the greenhouse effect, is critical for maintaining the Earth’s average temperature and supporting life.

Thermal Inversion

Thermal inversion is another phenomenon influenced by the energy emitted from the Earth. Usually, air temperature decreases with altitude. However, during thermal inversion, the temperature increases with altitude. This inversion can trap pollutants close to the ground, leading to poor air quality and health problems.

Climate Change

Last but not least, the energy emitted from Earth has a direct impact on climate change. Variations in the Earth’s energy balance can lead to global warming or global cooling, significantly affecting weather patterns, sea levels, and biodiversity over time.

Understanding the impacts of emitted energy on the atmosphere underscores the importance of our planet’s energy balance in maintaining the conditions necessary for life. It also highlights the role we play in influencing this balance through greenhouse gas emissions and land-use changes.

The Greenhouse Effect

The greenhouse effect is a natural and necessary process that keeps the Earth’s surface warm and capable of sustaining life. Here’s how it works:

Energy Absorption and Emission

The Sun emits energy in the form of shortwave radiation, which passes through the Earth’s atmosphere. About half of this solar radiation is absorbed by the Earth’s surface, while the rest is either reflected back into space or absorbed by the atmosphere.

After absorbing solar radiation, the Earth’s surface increases in temperature and emits a portion of the absorbed energy back into the atmosphere as longwave, or infrared, radiation.

Role of Greenhouse Gases

This is where greenhouse gases come into play. Greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, including water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, have the unique property of being able to absorb and emit infrared radiation.

When the Earth’s surface emits longwave radiation, these greenhouse gases absorb a significant portion of it, causing them to heat up. The heated gases then re-emit the absorbed energy in all directions – back towards the Earth’s surface and out into space.

Heating the Earth’s Surface

The portion of the re-emitted energy that goes back to the Earth’s surface causes further warming, a process known as the greenhouse effect. Without this natural process, the Earth’s average surface temperature would be about 60 degrees Fahrenheit cooler, making the planet inhospitable for most life forms.

Enhanced Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming

While the greenhouse effect is a natural process, human activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation have led to an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This increase enhances the greenhouse effect, causing more heat to be trapped in the atmosphere and leading to a rise in the Earth’s average surface temperature, a phenomenon known as global warming.

Understanding the greenhouse effect is crucial in comprehending how human activities contribute to climate change and why efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are so vital to our planet’s future.

Energy Balance and Climate Change

The Earth’s energy balance is a critical factor in determining the planet’s overall climate. Any disruption to this balance can lead to significant changes in the global climate. Let’s take a deeper look:

Understanding the Energy Balance

The Earth’s energy balance refers to the equilibrium between the amount of solar radiation the Earth receives from the Sun and the amount of energy the Earth radiates back into space. In an ideal scenario, the amount of incoming and outgoing energy should be equal, resulting in a stable climate.

Disruption of the Energy Balance

However, various factors can disrupt this balance, leading to either a net gain or a net loss of energy. A net gain in energy, where the Earth absorbs more energy than it radiates, leads to global warming. Conversely, a net loss, where the Earth radiates more energy than it absorbs, leads to global cooling.

Role of Greenhouse Gases

One of the main factors disrupting the Earth’s energy balance today is the increase in greenhouse gases due to human activities. When these gases accumulate in the atmosphere, they trap more heat from the Sun, leading to an overall increase in the Earth’s temperature, a phenomenon commonly referred to as global warming. This warming is causing long-term changes to the climate, or climate change.

Impact of Climate Change

Climate change can have significant impacts on various aspects of our planet. It can lead to more frequent and severe weather events, such as storms, heatwaves, and heavy rainfall. It can cause the polar ice caps to melt, resulting in a rise in sea levels and coastal flooding. Changes in temperature can also impact agriculture, wildlife, and biodiversity, disrupting ecosystems and leading to the extinction of certain species.

The Importance of Maintaining the Energy Balance

Maintaining the Earth’s energy balance is crucial for the health of our planet. Human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, are currently tipping the balance, leading to climate change. To mitigate this, it’s vital to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to more sustainable practices.

Understanding the connection between the Earth’s energy balance and climate change allows us to recognize the role we play in preserving our planet for future generations. The choices we make today will significantly impact the climate and life on Earth in the future.


Subsidiary Topic

What Happens With the Energy That Enters the Earth’s Atmosphere And to the Surface?

The sun is the Earth’s primary source of energy. Solar radiation enters the atmosphere and eventually reaches the Earth’s surface. Once it hits the surface, some of the energy is reflected back into space while the rest is absorbed and warms the surface.

The warmed surface then emits infrared radiation, which is also known as heat, back into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap some of this heat, which raises Earth’s average temperature. Some of the sun’s energy is used to evaporate water from lakes and oceans.

The water vapor eventually condenses and falls back to Earth as precipitation. This process powers the water cycle, which helps regulate Earth’s climate. The sun also drives wind patterns that can impact weather patterns around the globe.

What Percentage of the Sun’s Energy is Absorbed into the Earth’s System?

The sun is the star at the center of our solar system and its energy is vital to life on Earth. The sun’s energy comes from nuclear fusion, which takes place in its core. This process releases huge amounts of energy, which travels to the sun’s surface and then out into space.

Some of this energy eventually reaches Earth, where it drives our planet’s weather and climate. So how much of the sun’s energy actually makes it into our planet’s system? It turns out that only a small fraction of the sun’s total output ever reaches Earth – just 0.03%!

That might seem like an incredibly tiny number, but it’s actually enough to power all of life on our planet. How does this happen? Well, first off, not all of the sun’s radiation is headed in our direction.

And even if it were, most of it would simply bounce off our atmosphere and back out into space. In fact, less than half of the sunlight that hits Earth’s atmosphere ever makes it to the ground (the rest is scattered or reflected back into space). Of that amount, about 30% is absorbed by clouds, while another 19% is absorbed by the land and oceans.

The rest finally reaches us as visible light – what we see as sunshine! All told, these various absorption processes mean that less than 1/1000th of the sun’s original output ends up being used by life on Earth. But even this tiny amount is essential for powering photosynthesis in plants which produces the oxygen we breathe and forms the basis for all food chains on our planet.

So next time you step outside and feel the warmth of sunshine on your skin, remember that you’re experiencing a very small but very important part of our solar system!

How Much Energy is Reflected by the Atmosphere Absorbed?

The Earth’s atmosphere is a layer of gases that surrounds the planet and protects it from the vacuum of space. The atmosphere is made up of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% other gases. The atmosphere absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the Sun, which helps to keep the Earth’s surface cool.

The atmosphere also reflects some of the Sun’s energy back into space, which helps to regulate the Earth’s climate. The amount of energy reflected by the atmosphere varies depending on several factors, including atmospheric composition, temperature, and humidity. In general, however, about 30% of the Sun’s energy is reflected back into space by the atmosphere.

This means that about 70% of the Sun’s energy reaches the Earth’s surface, where it is absorbed and used to power weather and climate processes. Reflective particles in the atmosphere (such as clouds) can have a significant impact on how much sunlight is reflected back into space. For example, when there are more clouds in the sky, less sunlight reaches the ground because more of it is being reflected back into space.

This can help to cool down the Earth’s surface and lower temperatures overall.

For a Stable Climate, the Energy Budget of the Earth Should Be Balanced. the Equation for This Is:

If the Earth’s climate is to remain stable, the amount of energy entering the system must be balanced by the amount of energy leaving the system. This can be expressed by the equation: where Ein is the amount of energy entering the system, and EOUT is the amount of energy leaving the system.

If this balance is not maintained, then the Earth’s climate will change. There are a number of factors that can affect this balance, including changes in solar activity, volcanic eruptions, and changes in greenhouse gas concentrations. Solar activity has been relatively constant over recent years, but there have been some small fluctuations.

Volcanic eruptions can release large amounts of heat and gas into the atmosphere, which can affect the global climate. Changes in greenhouse gas concentrations can also alter how much heat is retained within the atmosphere. Currently, it appears that more energy is entering the Earth’s system than is leaving it.

This imbalance is thought to be a major contributor to global warming. To stabilize the climate, it will be necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or increase atmospheric aero option rates so that they match or exceed incoming rates.

What Range of Wavelengths is Outgoing Terrestrial Radiation?

Outgoing terrestrial radiation is the thermal radiation emitted by Earth’s surface. The wavelength range of this radiation is about 3-50 micrometers. Most of the outgoing terrestrial radiation is in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Greenhouse Gases Absorb Radiation

We all know the sun is the source of life itself, but did you know that it also has a powerful effect on our climate? The sun’s radiation is what drives the Earth’s weather and climate. But what exactly happens when this radiation reaches our atmosphere?

Well, some of the sun’s energy is reflected back into space by clouds and particles in the atmosphere. However, most of it passes through the atmosphere and warms up the Earth’s surface. This heat then radiates back into the atmosphere as infrared light.

Now, here’s where greenhouse gases come in. Greenhouse gases absorb this infrared radiation and trap heat in the atmosphere. This trapped heat makes the Earth’s temperature rise, which can lead to things like global warming and climate change.

So now you know how important it is to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases! We can do this by using fewer fossil fuels, planting trees, and conservation of energy. Every little bit helps!

Where Will Most of the Energy Go After It is Reflected from the Earth’s Surface?

When the sun’s energy hits the earth’s surface, a lot of it is reflected back into space. But where does the rest of the energy go? Some of it is used to evaporate water from the surface of lakes and oceans.

This water vapor eventually rises high into the atmosphere where it condenses and forms clouds. The latent heat released during this process helps to drive atmospheric circulation (including wind and ocean currents). Some of the sun’s energy is absorbed by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, trapping heat near the surface.

This trapped heat makes the earth’s atmosphere warm, which drives weather patterns and climate change. And finally, some of the sun’s energy is absorbed by rocks and soil at the earth’s surface. This heat is then radiated back into space or circulated through convection in Earth’s mantle (the layer below the crust).

What Type of Energy Does the Earth Emit into the Atmosphere?

The earth emits a variety of types of energy into the atmosphere, including infrared radiation, ultraviolet radiation, and visible light. Each type of energy has different effects on the atmosphere, and on the earth’s climate. Infrared radiation is emitted by the earth’s surface and is absorbed by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, causing the earth’s temperature to rise. Ultraviolet radiation is also emitted by the earth’s surface, but it is mostly scattered or reflected back into space before it reaches the ground. However, some UV rays do reach the ground, which can cause skin cancer and other health problems.

Visible light from the sun passes through the atmosphere and warms the earth’s surface. Visible light also helps plants grow by providing them with energy for photosynthesis. The amount of visible light that reaches the ground depends on atmospheric conditions such as clouds and pollution.

which type of energy is emitted from earth to the atmosphere after absorption
Credit: www.met.reading.ac.uk

What Kind of Energy is Emitted to the Atmosphere After Being Absorbed by Earth’s Surface?

When sunlight hits Earth’s surface, it is absorbed and then re-emitted as infrared radiation. This process of absorption and re-emission occurs over and over again until the infrared radiation eventually makes its way back out into the atmosphere. The amount of energy that is emitted back into the atmosphere depends on a number of factors, including the type of material that the sunlight hits (e.g. water vs. land), the angle at which the sunlight hits the surface (direct vs. indirect), and the temperature of the surface itself.

In general, though, we know that warmer surfaces will emit more energy than cooler ones. So what does all this mean for Earth’s climate? Well, ultimately, it’s this balance between incoming solar radiation and outgoing infrared radiation that helps to keep our planet warm enough to support life as we know it!

What Type of Energy Enters Earth’s Atmosphere?

The sun is a star that is about 150,000 times the size of Earth and its mass is about 333,000 times that of Earth. It emits huge amounts of energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation. This radiation consists of gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet light, visible light, infrared radiation, and microwaves.

All this radiation travels through space and eventually reaches Earth. About half of the sunlight that hits Earth’s atmosphere is reflected back into space while the rest penetrates the atmosphere and reaches the surface of the planet. The amount of sunlight that reaches the surface varies depending on factors such as latitude (how close to the equator), time of day (whether it is day or night), season (whether it is summer or winter), cloud cover (whether there are clouds in the sky), and altitude (how high above sea level).

When sunlight hits Earth’s atmosphere, some of it is scattered in all directions by particles in the air such as dust and water vapor. This scattered sunlight makes up what we see as the blue sky during the daytime. Some of the sunlight also bounces off clouds making them appear white from our vantage point on the ground.

The air molecules absorb some ultraviolet light from sunlight which causes them to heat up and re-emit this energy at longer wavelengths such as visible light and infrared radiation. These processes contribute to making Earth’s atmosphere transparent to visible light but opaque to ultraviolet light, x-rays, and gamma rays from the sun.

What Type of Radiation is Emitted by the Earth?

There are three types of radiation that are emitted by the Earth: infra-red radiation, visible light, and ultraviolet radiation. Infrared radiation is emitted by the Earth’s surface when it is heated by the sun. This type of radiation is invisible to us but can be felt as heat.

Visible light is the type of radiation that we see when we look at the Earth. Ultraviolet radiation is invisible to us but can cause sunburns. This type of radiation is emitted by the Sun and can be harmful to our skin and eyes if we are not protected from it.

What Type of Radiation Does the Earth Absorb And Emit?

The Earth absorbs and emits a variety of types of radiation, including visible light, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, infrared (IR) radiation, and X-rays. Each type of radiation has different effects on the Earth’s atmosphere and surface. Visible light is the type of electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye.

The Sun is the main source of visible light for the Earth. When sunlight hits the atmosphere, some of it is scattered back into space while some passes through the atmosphere and reaches the surface of the Earth. The amount of visible light that reaches the ground depends on factors such as atmospheric conditions (e.g., clouds) and elevation.

UV radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation with shorter wavelengths than visible light. UV radiation from the Sun can penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere and reach the ground where it can cause sunburns, skin cancer, cataracts, and other health problems. UV Radiation can also be harmful to plants and animals by causing damage to DNA or other molecules in living cells.

IR radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation with longer wavelengths than UV rays but shorter wavelengths than microwaves. IR Radiation from the Sun heats up the Earth’s atmosphere and surface by absorbing thermal energy Incoming IR waves are mostly absorbed by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (mainly water vapor, carbon dioxide, and ozone), which re-emits them back toward the surface in all directions. This process makes Earth warmer than it would be otherwise.

X-rays are produced by high-energy particles moving at close to the speed of light.


Conclusion

Understanding the type of energy emitted from Earth to the atmosphere after absorption helps us comprehend the intricacies of climate science, weather patterns, and global climate change. Let’s remember, our actions today will determine the Earth’s energy balance tomorrow.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Earth’s energy balance?

The Earth’s energy balance refers to the equilibrium between incoming energy from the Sun and outgoing energy from the Earth.

What is the difference between longwave and shortwave radiation?

Longwave radiation, or infrared radiation, is emitted by the Earth’s surface after it absorbs energy from the Sun. Shortwave radiation is the direct energy emitted by the Sun. Earth reflects some of this energy back to space without absorbing it.

How does the greenhouse effect work?

The greenhouse effect works by trapping heat within the Earth’s atmosphere. Gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide and methane, trap heat from the Sun, preventing it from escaping back into space.

What is the role of convection in the Earth’s energy balance?

Convection plays a significant role in the Earth’s energy balance by transferring heat from one place to another. For instance, warm air rises towards the atmosphere, and cooler air moves down towards the Earth’s surface.

How does climate change relate to Earth’s energy balance?

Climate change is directly related to Earth’s energy balance. Any changes in the balance between incoming solar energy and outgoing terrestrial energy can cause global warming or cooling, leading to climate change over time.

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