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environment - Energy and Latitude

This is Antarctica. What season is this? which is night and which is day?

The sun is always up, also in the middle of the night in Antarctica during the summer. The photograph on the left is Antarctica throughout the night in the summer. The photograph on the ideal is Antarctica throughout the work in summer. Similarly, in the winter Antarctica is mostly dark every day.

Different components of Earth’s surface get different amounts of sunlight. The sun’s rays strike Earth’s surface ar most straight at the equator. This focuses the beam on a small area. Since the light ray hit more directly, the area is cook more. You deserve to see this in the figure below. Notification that the planet is tilted top top its axis. Due to the fact that of the Earth’s tilt the sun’s light ray strike the surface at a slant in ~ the poles; they are much less focused. This spreads the rays over a broad area. Due to the fact that the sun’s light ray hit at a slant, the area is cook less. The much more focused the light ray are, the more energy an area receives and the warmer the is; the less concentrated the light ray are, the less power an area receives and the cooler it is.

The lowest latitudes acquire the most power from the sun. The highest possible latitudes obtain the least.

The tilt that the Earth reasons different locations to receive different amounts of solar energy. The difference in solar power received at different latitudes drives atmospheric circulation. Areas that get an ext solar power have much more heat. Locations that get less solar power have less heat. The air above the areas receiving more heat warms up and rises. The air over the locations receiving less warm is cooler and also so the sinks. The rising warm air and sinking cool air produce wind which moves air and also heat roughly the planet.

Source:Open education and learning Group Textbooks - earth Science

In order to assist you understand this much more clearly, refer to the photo. In this photo, a net of same dimensions has actually been placed on a projector screen, superimposed ~ above a globe. Due to the fact that of the curvature of the world which represents Earth, the grids room not uniform. Notification at the equator, the grids are proportionally smaller sized than they are at the poles. This represents the solar radiation being scattered end a greater distance at the poles. Notice that in ~ the equator, the grids space not distorted, an interpretation solar radiation is no scattered near as much. Because of this, the air, ocean, and Earth"s surface gets heated at the equator more than at the poles.

If we were to compare these 2 regions, us would uncover that over there is a network loss that solar radiation in the higher latitudes and a net obtain in the tropics. This distinction in solar radiation creates a motion of wait (wind) from the warmer tropical regions toward the cooler northern and also southern regions, the poles. See figure 2.


This moving air create oceanic surface currents the moves the water in the exact same direction as the wind, that is, currents native the equator and also tropics move warmth water northward toward higher latitudes, and currents indigenous the poles relocate cooler water southward toward lower latitudes. Currently think around this, perform winds in ~ the area whereby you live punch from the north towards the south or southern toward the north? If you analyze wind fads where friend live, you probably will discern that the winds generally have a westerly or an easterly component to the north-south directions, i.e. Northwest, southeast, southwest, west southwest, etc. What is the factor for this? Why don"t winds blow simply north and also south, relocating the ocean currents north and south follow to figure 2? good question. Research will help carry out the answer.


A many the solar energy that reaches earth hits the equator. Much less solar energy gets come the poles. The difference in the lot of solar power drives atmospheric circulation.

Practice usage this resource to price the inquiries that follow.

What is latitude? What walk latitude means to the heating of the Earth? Why execute high latitudes receive much less sunlight? What is the edge of incidence?

Answers - to mark the box listed below to view the answers.

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Latitude is the measure of the distance of a place on the planet from the equator. The additional away indigenous the equator the a ar resides, the much less sunlight that this location receives. the all has to do v the form of the Earth. Due to the fact that the planet is round, just the prior most part receives straight sunlight.


The north Pole receives sunshine 24 hours a day in the summer. Why does it receive much less solar radiation than the equator? What component of earth receives the most solar radiation in a year? What renders the setting move the way it does?

Answers - highlight the box listed below to see the answers.

it receives less solar radiation 보다 the equator since the angle of incidence is much smaller. The sun’s rays perform not win the Earth’s surface as directly at the phibìc Pole; castle are much less focused. The equator receives the most solar radiation in a year. The difference in the quantity of solar energy the land receives reasons the environment to move the method it does.

Source:Open education and learning Group Textbooks - planet Science