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Did You Know: Terrestrial Radiation

Earth glows.

Credits

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with the NASA Earth Observatory (https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).
 
Story adapted from Image of the Day post by Joe Atkinson, Ed Gillard, and Mike Carlowicz: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/91630/another-accountant-for-the-energy-budget


  • Image of Pacific Northwest: Expedition 43 Crew, International Space Station

  • Map of Sunlight Reflected off Earth (Shortwave Radiation): CERES FM6, Joint Polar Satellite System 1

  • Map of Infrared Light Emitted by Earth (Terrestrial Radiation): CERES FM6, Joint Polar Satellite System 1

  • Written by Margaret Carruthers

Transcript

(DESCRIPTION)
Text, Did You Know? Terrestrial radiation.
 
(SPEECH)
[GENTLE MUSIC]
 
(DESCRIPTION)
Earth glows. A picture of Earth from orbit. Caption, Pacific Northwest, Expedition 43 Crew, International Space Station.
 
Text, When we look at Earth from space, we see visible light.
 
Most of the light we can see on the daylight side of Earth comes from the Sun, and is reflecting off the land, sea, and air.
 
A map of sunlight reflected off Earth, shortwave radiation, is shaded from light blue, indicating 60 W per square meter, through deep purple indicating 455, and bright yellow indicating 850. Antarctica has the highest radiation. Description, thick cloud cover reflects incoming solar energy back to space. Caption, CERES FM6, Joint Polar Satellite System 1. Text, But Earth also emits its own light, known as terrestrial radiation. Terrestrial radiation is a form of infrared light. A new map of infrared light emitted by Earth, terrestrial radiation. Shading ranges from white, indicating 100 W per square meter, through purple indicating 240, to yellow indicating 380. The area around the equator emits the most infrared light. Description, cooler, cloudier areas emit less heat energy. Text, Infrared is invisible to human eyes, but can be detected from space with instruments like the Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System, CERES, aboard NOAA's Joint Polar Satellite System 1.