Home Discussion Forum What happens to the solar energy that reaches Earth?

What happens to the solar energy that reaches Earth?

I am not a hippie I am trying to finish my homework


  1. if it hits a black road, it heats the road.
    if it hits light concrete, some gets reflected, some gets absorbed and heats it up.
    if it hits a green leaf, some gets absorbed and used to create sugar / starch, and some gets re-emitted.
    if it hits the top of a white car, most of it is re-emitted, but a little is absorbed.
    if it hits the top of a black car, most of it is absorbed, and heats the car.
    is there something i’m missing here?

  2. to the above answerer- ban hippies?? ummm maybe study science?
    solar energy that isn’t reflected by the Earth’s albedo or absorbed into the atmosphere warms the Earth’s surface, or whatever it hits, which is why its nice to be outside in the sunshine!

  3. Most of it heats the Earth, including its atmosphere. Relatively little is utilized by plants and passed up the food chain but that little is the basis for almost all life on earth.

  4. Most is reflected back into space because of the ozone layer. The rest goes into heat and photosythesis. The energy used by plants either then decays & absorbed by microbes or is absorbed by animals which then either decay or go further up the food chain. Each link looses 1 fold of the energy as the previous. Say, a plant has 10000 calories of energy. A bug eating that would gain 1000 and a bird eating that bug gains 100 from each bug. Each level uses a certain amount of energy to injest the previous. Also why you get so much more energy from plants than meat.
    This is much more complicated than this and can go a million more ways, but these are a few of the pertinent routes.


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