Earth's Energy Budget Animations: Global View and Budget Breakout

  • Released Thursday, February 19, 2009

Total solar irradiance (TSI) is the dominant driver of the Earth's climate. The global temperature of the Earth is almost completely determined by the balance between the intensity of the incident solar radiation and the response of the Earth's atmosphere via absorption, reflection, and re-radiation. Roughly 30 percent of the TSI that strikes the Earth is reflected back into space by clouds, atmospheric aerosols, snow, ice, desert sand, rooftops, and even ocean surf. The remaining 70 percent of the TSI is absorbed by the land, ocean, and atmosphere. In addition, different layers of the Earth's atmosphere absorb different wavelengths of light. Changes in either the TSI or in the composition of the atmosphere can cause climate change. Two conceptual science animations provide two different perspectives that both illustrate Earth's energy budget.

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NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Release date

This page was originally published on Thursday, February 19, 2009.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:54 PM EDT.


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