Scott Denning: Earth’s energy budget is out of balance – here’s how that’s warming the climate
Professor Scott Denning wrote this piece for The Conversation. Colorado State University is a contributing institution to The Conversation, an independent collaboration between editors and academics that provides informed news analysis and commentary to the general public.
You probably remember your grade school science teachers explaining that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. That’s a fundamental property of the universe.
Energy can be transformed, however. When the Sun’s rays reach Earth, they are transformed into random motions of molecules that you feel as heat. At the same time, Earth and the atmosphere are sending radiation back into space. The balance between the incoming and outgoing energy is known as Earth’s “energy budget.”
Our climate is determined by these energy flows. When the amount of energy coming in is more than the energy going out, the planet warms up.
Read the full article, “Earth’s energy budget is out of balance – here’s how that’s warming the climate.”
The Sun over Earth, seen from the International Space Station. NASA, CC BY-NC