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The Sun's Influence on Climate$
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Joanna D. Haigh and Peter Cargill

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691153834

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691153834.001.0001

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The Earth’s Climate System

The Earth’s Climate System

(p.12) 2 The Earth’s Climate System
The Sun's Influence on Climate

Joanna D. Haigh

Peter Cargill

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on solar radiation and its interaction with the terrestrial atmosphere in the context of the Earth's radiation budget and radiative forcing of climate, as well as its direct impact on atmospheric composition and temperature. The composition, temperature, and motion of Earth's atmosphere are determined by internal chemical and physical processes as well as by complex interactions with other parts of the climate system—notably the oceans, cryosphere and biosphere. On a global and annual average the solar energy absorbed by the Earth is balanced by thermal infrared radiation emitted to space. However, solar radiation absorption has a strong latitudinal variation, while the outgoing infrared radiation has only a weak latitudinal dependence. Thus there is a net surplus of radiative energy at low latitudes and a deficit at high latitudes.

Keywords:   Earth, atmosphere, solar radiation, radiation budget, climate, temperature, cryosphere, biosphere, infrared

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