SOLAR Radiation

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SOLAR Radiation Powered By Docstoc
					Rita D. Haberlin

Characteristics of the Sun

What is it?
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An ordinary star A mass of incandescent gases A thermonuclear fusion engine Hydrogen fuses into helium A rotating, revolving body

Electromagnetic Radiation


Electromagnetic radiation travels through space without requiring a medium

Nature of Solar Radiation

Hot bodies emit short wave radiation Solar radiation is shortwave radiation
Visible Light 41%

Ultraviolet, X, and gamma 9% Infrared Visible Light Ultraviolet,X, gamma



Short-wave radiation does not readily heat most gases.

Infrared 50%

Is solar radiation constant?

Is the sun like a gigantic electric light bulb in the sky? Does it always emit the same intensity of energy?


Two Factors Affect the Intensity of Solar Radiation

Sun spots and solar flares


Earth’s changing distance from the sun

The Solar Constant
The “SOLAR CONSTANT” is the amount of energy received by an imaginary surface perpendicular to the sun’s rays outside the earth’s atmosphere. The value of the solar constant is about 1400 watts of radiation per square meter.

Does anywhere on earth receive 1400 watts radiation per square meter?

Scientists use the word Insolation not sunshine to refer to the amount of solar radiation that reaches the earth’s surface. Insolation at the earth’s surface is always less than the solar constant. Why?


Two sets of variables determine the amount of insolation:

The angle of the sun varies with
– – –

Latitude Season Time of day


Interception of energy passing through the atmosphere

Length of Daylight at 40 Latitude N

Solar Constant Versus Insolation

Over 50% of solar radiation is intercepted as it passes through the atmosphere
100% 50%

Solar energy

Atmosphere Solar Constant

What happens to solar radiation as it passes through the atmosphere?
100 units solar energy

Scattering 5%

Reflection off clouds 20%

Absorption 20%
Reflection off earth 5% Only 50% of solar energy warms the earth’s surface

Mechanisms of heat transfer

How is the atmosphere heated?
Latent heat
Absorption Convection Conduction Longwave radiation

The sun heats the earth and the earth heats the atmosphere

The Greenhouse Effect


• Greenhouse windows act like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
• Shortwave solar radiation penetrates the glass but traps longwave radiation inside.

Is This Heat Trapped Forever?

Outgoing earth radiation must equal incoming solar radiation

Latitudinal Balance

Annual Net Radiation Balance



High latitudes, 40º to the poles emit more radiation than they receive (deficit) Low latitudes receive more insolation than than they emit (surplus) How is this possible?

Poleward Heat Transport

In what ways does surplus heat move from low latitudes to high latitudes?


Oceanic circulation in the form of ocean currents Atmospheric circulation in the form of winds Latent heat absorbed in the low latitudes but released in the high latitudes

Key Points
  

Solar power is electromagnetic radiation that is a potential source of energy Shortwave radiation from the sun is intercepted as it travels through the atmosphere to heat the earth. The atmosphere is heated by longwave radiation, sensible heat, and latent heat Energy is moved from low latitudes to high latitudes by winds, ocean currents, and in the form of latent heat.

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