Energy Balance

The difference between the total incoming and total outgoing energy.


Averaged over the Earth and over long time periods, the energy budget of the climate system must be in balance.

The climate system derives all its energy from the Sun, this balance implies that on a global scale, the amount of incoming solar radiation must on average be equal to the sum of the outgoing reflected solar radiation and the outgoing infrared radiation emitted by the climate system.

The perturbation of this global radiation balance, be it human-induced or natural, is called radiative forcing.

See also: Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Intensity, Heat Engine.

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Subjects: Physics Thermodynamics