Peralta Colleges, Physical Geography
Rita D. Haberlin, Instructor
STUDY QUESTIONS FOR
SOLAR RADIATION TUTORIALS
Section 1 - The Sun
- Why is the sun important?
- What is the sun composed of?
- What is the source of the sun's energy?
- In what form is the sun's energy?
- How long does it take for solar radiation to reach the earth's surface?
- What is the relationship between the temperature of a body and the intensity of energy and the size of wavelengths?
- What are the wavelengths of solar radiation?
- Name three forms of solar radiation.
- What do you understand by the term global radiation balance?
Section 2 - How the Sun Heats the Earth
- What is the solar constant? What is its approximate value?
- How and why does average annual insolation vary between the equator and the poles?
- What are the two main factors that explain the differences in insolation reaching the earth's surface?
- What three factors determine the angle of the sun?
- What is diffuse radiation? Why is the sky blue?
- On average, how much solar radiation do clouds reflect?
- What kinds of surfaces are most reflective and least reflective of solar radiation?
- What do you understand by the term albedo? Which part of the earth has the greatest albedo?
- How much solar radiation is absorbed in the atmosphere by clouds, dust, and gas?
- What is the main source of heat for the atmosphere?
- What percentage of incoming solar radiation is absorbed by the earth's surface?
Section 3 - How the Earth Heats the Atmosphere
- How and why does temperature change with altitude?
- What is latent heat? Where is it absorbed and where is it released?
- Name two forms of sensible heat. How does each form warm the atmosphere?
Section 4. The Greenhouse Effect
- Why is the atmosphere often compared with a greenhouse?
- Name four greenhouse gases? Which of these are most important?
- What is the relationship between fossil fuel burning and the greenhouse effect?
- How does the clearing and burning of vegetation increase the greenhouse effect?
Section 5. The Global Radiation Balance
- Which latitudes receive more insolation than they emit to space?
- Which latitudes emit more radiation than they receive?
- What is the role played by winds, ocean currents, and latent heat in the global radiation balance?
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