INTRODUCTION TO HEAT FLUXES
Figure 7j-1 illustrates the annual values of net shortwave and net long-wave radiation from the South Pole to the North Pole. On closer examination of this graph one notes that the lines representing incoming and outgoing radiation do not have the same values. From 0 - 35 ° latitude North and South incoming solar radiation exceeds outgoing terrestrial radiation and a surplus of energy exists. The reverse holds true from 35 - 90° latitude North and South and these regions have a deficit of energy. Surplus energy at low latitudes and a deficit at high latitudes results in energy transfer from the equator to the poles. It is this meridional transport of energy that causes atmospheric and oceanic circulation. If there were no energy transfer the poles would be 25° Celsius cooler, and the equator 14° Celsius warmer!
Figure 7j-1: Balance between average net shortwave and long-wave radiation from 90° North to 90° South.
Pidwirny, M. (2006). "Global Heat Balance: Introduction to Heat Fluxes". Fundamentals of Physical Geography, 2nd Edition. 5/1/2012. http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7j.html
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