The weather and climate on earth are dictated by the quantity of incoming energy from the Sun. Earth"s energy spending plan explains that if the incoming and also outgoing radiation room equal, climate the climate is in equilibrium. This balance is accomplished or not accomplished depending on how this incoming power interacts with the Earth and objects ~ above it v phenomena such as scattering, reflection, absorption, and also energy transformations. Power can it is in converted, transported and stored in a selection of forms. Overall, how energy acts when it has reached the planet plays a significant role in Earth"s climate. Energy flows room the power transformations and also movement that occur once power has got to the Earth. This flows describe how power is distributed and also how that interacts through objects, determining particular climate properties.

You are watching: Where does all the energy on earth come from

<1>


*

Figure 1. Energy flows top top the Earth.<2><3>

All that the power that is occurrence upon the earth acts in different ways. 30% of this solar energy is reflected, and also the staying 70% moves in various forms and pathways. The majority of the power that the planet receives is indigenous the Sun, just 0.03% originates from other sources (as watched in figure 1). This renders the solar circulation the most leading energy flow. In total, 174,000 TW that power—that"s the power of approximately 4 million tonnes of oil every second—is occurrence upon the Earth. While this is a small part of the 410,000,000,000,000 TW of power the sunlight puts out in all directions, the is still a great deal that energy.


Contents


1 operation on the Earths Surface

Flows ~ above the Earths Surface

Although the solar power flow is the most dominant flow, it is not the only resource of energy on the Earth. Power from the usage of atom fuels, and energy as result of the tides and the thermal power from the centre of the planet all add to the total energy on the Earth. Although these flows contribute much less, they room still crucial to ensure that the earth is in an power balance.

Solar Flow


*

Figure 2. Particular pathways in ~ the leading solar flow.<2><3>

From the 174 000 TW delivered to Earth, an typical value that 1367 fracWm^2 is established to be the power occurrence on one square meter situated at a resolved location exterior Earth"s atmosphere. However, this worth averaged over the entire planet becomes 340 fracWm^2. View this page for a an ext thorough derivation of this values. Of this power, about 30% is reflected back into room with reflection as result of the atmosphere, clouds, the ocean, land and also ice.<3>

The staying 120 000 TW, or about 70% the the initial energy, that reaches the surface ar of the earth comes down and also warms the atmosphere.<3> This section of the pathway have the right to be seen in figure 2. In the atmosphere, greenhouse gas molecule absorb this heat energy, and their temperature rise. After ~ this absorption, the gases radiate heat energy back out in every directions. This thermal power then radiates back out into space. It is this phenomenon the warms the surface ar through the natural greenhouse effect.<4> approximately 78 300 TW of energy are supplied to keep the atmosphere warm in this manner, bring about the median temperature continuing to be at 15°C or 288 K. Indigenous the initial incoming energy, approximately 23% or 40,000 TW<3> evaporates water and runs the hydrologic cycle. Here, fluid water molecule absorb incoming energy and change phase from liquid to gas. The power it required to evaporate this water is then latent in the movement of the vapour molecules.<4> The molecules can then condense—creating rain, snow, and also sleet which drives rivers, runoff and also cloud formation—then release the latent heat into the atmosphere. This enables hydropower to record energy as well, that which people use ~ 1 TW.<5>

Roughly 1%,<3> or 1700 TW is turned right into the energy of wind and also ocean currents. This move air and also water all over the planet, which transfers the warm held in the movement of the molecule of the gas or liquid.

A very small amount (only approximately 0.08% or 140 TW) the the initial energy gets caught by photosynthesis, giving power to plants.<3> This photosynthesis then enables plants come absorb carbon native the environment in the type of carbon dioxide.Almost all the power used to power life comes from this 140 TW. Plants get their power from this photosynthesis and then animals either eat tree to gain this energy, or eat pets that eat these plants to obtain this energy. Once the plants and also animals die, they may come to be fossil fuels. However, it takes a far-ranging time (millions the years) for this to occur. Although the development of fossil fuel isn"t straightforward, most of the chemical energy stored in these plants and also animals decays to thermal energy in the atmosphere.<3> The fossil fuels offered by human beings amount to about 14 TW (of the 16 TW of primary energy used by humans).<5>

Other Flows

In addition to solar flow, nuclear flow contributes to the all at once energy top top the Earth. Humans use around 1 TW of nuclear fuels,<5> and also this power does not originate native the Sun. Instead, nuclear fuels are left end from the explode that began the solar system. This 1 TW is component of the 0.02% the doesn"t come indigenous the sun.

As well, the geothermal flow is another energy source that doesn"t originate from the Sun. The geothermal power coming with the Earth"s crust is roughly 44 TW or about 0.025%.<3> The rest of the power that doesn"t come native the sunlight is the ~3 TW or 0.0017% coming from tidal forces acting in between the Earth and also Moon.<3> This small flow is recognized as the tidal flow.

See more: Ask A Vet: Why Do Dogs Smell Each Others Privates ? Why Do Dogs Smell People'S Privates (Crotches)

Balance

The earth then radiates power from all of the flows earlier into an are in the kind of thermal radiation. The planet stays practically totally balanced in regards to its temperature due to how the flows communicate with each other and also how solar power reaches the Earth. This is as result of Earth"s power budget. Increases in greenhouse gases choose carbon dioxide and methane are causing slightly less warm being radiated into room than the quantity of energy coming in. This difference quantities to around 1 fracWm^2, a very tiny difference. Over several decades this 1 fracWm^2 has actually led come a warming climate particularly warmer oceans, also though the is a seemingly trivial power, equating to the output of around 1 Christmas tree light because that every square meter of Earth"s surface.<3>