# Environment Counts | The increasing greenhouse effect

Author: Geoff Zeiss – Published At: 2011-11-21 10:48 – (835 Reads)

The balance between absorbed solar energy and radiated energy of the Earth is being changed by the
increasing greenhouse effect which leads to a net energy inflow of about 1 Watt/square meter. |

Because the Earth’s surface has warmed by about 0.8 Â° C since 1900, radiation from the earth’s surface (396 W/mÂ²) has increased by about 5 W/mÂ². Absorption from the atmosphere by the surface has increased by about the same amount. The result is a net energy inflow of about 1 W/mÂ², which compared to the energy 0.03 W/mÂ² generated directly by humans, is significant.

**Energy from the sun**

Radiation from the sun | 341 W/mÂ² |

Absorbed by atmosphere | -78 W/mÂ² |

Reflected by clouds and aerosols | -79 W/mÂ² |

Reflected by Earth’s surface | -23 W/mÂ² |

Absorbed by Earth’s surface | 161 W/mÂ² |

**Energy loss from the Earth’s surface**

Radiation from Earth’s surface | -396 W/mÂ² |

Convection from surface | -17 W/mÂ² |

Evapotranspiration from surface | -80 W/mÂ² |

Total loss from surface | -493 W/mÂ² |

**Net balance:**

Radiation from sun | 161 W/mÂ² |

Absorbed from atmosphere | 333 W/mÂ² |

Total absorbed by surface | 494 W/mÂ² |

Total lost by surface | 493 W/mÂ² |

Net absorption | 1 W/mÂ² |

Human generated | 0.03 W/mÂ² |

Approximately 161 W/mÂ² of direct solar radiation is absorbed by the Earth’s surface. 333 W/mÂ² are absorbed by the Earth’s surface from the atmosphere for a total of 494 W/mÂ².

The Earth’s surface radiates about 396 W/mÂ². Together with evapotranspiration (80 W/mÂ²) and convection (17 W/mÂ²) the Earth’s surface loses 493 W/mÂ².

The net result is an increase in absorption of about 1 W/mÂ².