What is Heat Balance?

The state of equilibrium that exists on the Earth between incoming solar radiation and outgoing terrestrial radiation is known as heat balance.

How is the Heat Balance Achieved?

The rotation of the Earth on its axis impacts the distribution of heat in various parts of the Earth. As the Earth rotates on its axis, the Sun heats different parts of the Earth at different times (the part facing the Sun experiences day and vice versa).

When heat and energy are radiated by the Earth, it warms the layers of the atmosphere above it directly. This is called conduction. When one layer of the Earth absorbs radiation, it transfers the heat to the lower level by the process of conduction.

The transfer of heat from one medium to another or from one part of the liquid or gas to another part in the form of the movement of particles is known as convection. The sea breeze is caused by the convectional currents in the atmosphere.

The land is a bad conductor and a good radiator of heat. Therefore, it heats quickly during the day and cools rapidly at night. During the night, because the land cools rapidly, the land breeze blows from the land to the oceans.

On the contrary, water takes a longer time to get heated and loses heat slowly during the night. The sea, which is cooler during the daytime, gives rise to the sea breeze which blows from the sea to the land.

The atmosphere acts as a blanket of the Earth. During the day, the atmosphere acts like a greenhouse and keeps the surface of the Earth warm by preventing terrestrial radiation from escaping into space. During the day, the atmosphere absorbs 14% of insolation and regulates the temperature of the Earth. Thus, it prevents the Earth from becoming too hot during the day and too cold at night.


Also, Read Isolation and heat balance