Physical Geography: Chapter 2 – The Earth’s Global Energy Balance

question

Solar Energy
answer

Energy derived from the sun’s radiation.
question

Electromagnetic Radiation
answer

A collection of waves, of a wide range of wavelengths, that travel away from the surface of an object.
question

Wavelengths
answer

Measured distance separating one wave crest from the next wave crest.
question

Electromagnetic Spectrum
answer

Defines the entire range of wavelengths for all energy.
question

Radiation
answer

The emission and propagation of energy in the form of rays or waves.
question

Temperature
answer

A measure of the warmth or coldness of an object or substance with reference to some standard value.
question

Solar Radiation
answer

Energy radiated from the sun in the form of electromagnetic waves, including visible and ultraviolet light and infrared radiation.
question

Shortwave Radiation
answer

Electromagnetic energy in the range from 0.2 to 3 µm, including most of the energy spectrum of SOLAR radiation.
question

Longwave Radiation
answer

Electromagnetic energy emitted by the EARTH, largely in the range from 3 to 50 µm.
question

Insolation
answer

Flow rate of incoming solar energy, as measured at the top of the atmosphere.
question

Subsolar Point
answer

The point on the surface of the earth or a planet at which the sun is at the zenith.
question

Declination
answer

Angular distance north or south from the celestial equator measured along a great circle passing through the celestial poles.
question

Circle of Illumination
answer

Separates day and night.
question

Equinox
answer

One of the two times in a year when the sun crosses the plane of the earth’s equator, and day and night are of equal length.
question

Annual Insolations
answer

Total amount of insolation in one location over the course of a year; varies only by latitude. (seasons don’t matter)
question

Midlatitude
answer

Strong seasonal contrasts in insolation and length of day.
question

Troposphere
answer

The lowest layer of the atmosphere, where human activity and most weather take place.
question

Stratosphere
answer

Layer of atmosphere directly above the troposphere, where temperature slowly increases with height.
question

Ozone
answer

A layer of the earth’s upper atmosphere that is characterized by high ozone content which blocks most of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation from entering the lower atmosphere.
question

Mesosphere
answer

The atmospheric layer lying between the stratosphere and the thermosphere, characterized by a rapid decrease in temperature with height.
question

Thermosphere
answer

The hottest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere directly above the mesosphere and directly below the exosphere.
question

Aerosol
answer

A substance consisting of very fine particles of a liquid or solid suspended in a gas.
question

Absorption
answer

The process in which incident radiant energy is retained by a substance.
question

Scattering
answer

Process by which particles and molecules deflect incoming solar radiations in different directions on collision
question

Albedo
answer

A measure of how much light that hits a surface is reflected without being absorbed.
question

Greenhouse Effect
answer

A gas in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and ozone, that absorbs solar heat reflected by the surface of the Earth, warming the atmosphere.
question

CFC’s (chlorofluorocarbons)
answer

Synthetic industrial chemical compounds containing chlorine, fluorine, and carbon atoms.
question

Global Radiation Balance
answer

The energy flow process by which the Earth absorbs shortwave solar radiation and emits longwave radiation; in the long run, the two flows must balance.
question

Daily Insolation
answer

The measurement of daily amount of sunshine in a 24-hour period.
question

Seasonality and Latitude
answer

Factors that make insolation distribute unevenly across Earth’s surface.
question

Net Radiation
answer

The difference between incoming and outgoing radiation.
question

Sensible Latent
answer

Two types of heat.
question

Sensible Heat
answer

Form of energy; we are able to feel it; thermometer measures it; contained in a substance; transfers by either conduction or convection.
question

Conduction
answer

Transfer of sensible heat through matter by transfer of energy from one atom or molecule to the next in the direction of decreasing temperature.
question

Convection
answer

Transfer of sensible heat; heat goes into gasses and the heat travels upward. (away from the source of heat)
question

Latent Heat
answer

Heat absorbed and held in storage in a gas or liquid during the processes of evaporation, melting, or sublimation; cannot be measured with thermometer.
question

Latent Heat Transfer
answer

Begins mostly when water evaporates; energy from surroundings go INTO molecules, surrounding areas will cool down. (or vise versa)
question

Reradiation
answer

Radiation emitted as a consequence of a previous absorption of radiation.
question

Counterradiation
answer

Reradiation that travels back from the atmosphere to the surface of the earth; this causes the earth to warm.

Get instant access to
all materials

Become a Member