Earth-Atmosphere Energy Balance Diagram


Energy balance diagram - Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge. Using 100 units of energy from the sun as a baseline the energy balance is as follows:

At the top of the atmosphere - Incoming energy from the sun balanced with outgoing energy from the earth.
Incoming energy Outgoing energy
Units Source Units Source
+100 Short wave radiation from the sun. -23 Short wave radiation reflected back to space by clouds.
  -7 Short wave radiation reflected to space by the earth's surface.
  -49 Longwave radiation from the atmosphere into space.
  -9 Longwave radiation from clouds into space.
  -12 Longwave radiation from the earth's surface into space.
+100   -100  



The atmosphere itself - Energy into the atmosphere is balanced with outgoing energy from atmosphere.
Incoming energy Outgoing energy
Units Source Units Source
+19 Absorbed short wave radiation by gasses in the atmosphere. -9 Long wave radiation emitted to space by clouds.
+4 Absorbed short wave radiation by clouds. -49 Long wave radiation emitted to space by gasses in atmosphere.
+104 Absorbed longwave radiation from earth's surface. -98 Longwave radiation emitted to earth's surface by gasses in atmosphere.
+5 From convective currents (rising air warms the atmosphere).  
+24 Condensation/Deposition of water vapor
(heat is released into the atmosphere by process).
 
+156   -156  



At the earth's surface - Energy absorbed is balanced with the energy released.
Incoming energy Outgoing energy
Units Source Units Source
+47 Absorbed short wave radiation from the sun. -116 Long wave radiation emitted by the surface.
+98 Absorbed longwave radiation from gasses in atmosphere. -5 Removal of heat by convection (rising warm air).
  -24 Heat required by the processes of evaporation and sublimation and therefore removed from the surface.
+145   -145  


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