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lab_05_description - GEOG/ESPM 1425 LAB 5: ENERGY BALANCE...

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Page 1 of 1 GEOG/ESPM 1425 LAB 5: ENERGY BALANCE MODELS 75 points Our goal for this lab exercise is to examine how energy enters and leaves the earth and how the earth achieves an energy equilibrium—the energy balance. By looking at the energy inputs and outputs, we also can figure out the temperature at the earth’s surface. One way to examine the energy flows is to use a numerical (computer-based) climate model. One of the oldest and best-known types of climate models is the energy balance model (EBM). As the name suggests, this type of model attempts to account for all energy coming in and all energy going out of some system, in this case the earth. The term “balance” means that the earth system is at equilibrium—the energy received by the earth is equal to the energy lost by the earth. Energy balance models typically are one-dimensional, that dimension being latitude. (The real world, of course, is three-dimensional, and positions on the earth can be described by the three “dimensions” of latitude, longitude, and altitude.) In a one-dimensional EBM (Figure 1) the “world” is divided up into a series of latitude belts, or zones, which usually are defined in terms of degrees: in Figure 1, for example, the zones are 30 o “wide” (90-60 o S, 60-30 o S, 30 o S-0 o , 0 o -30 o N, 30-60 o N, and 60-90 o N). Figure 1. Example of latitudinal zones in a one-dimensional energy balance model.
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lab_05_description - GEOG/ESPM 1425 LAB 5: ENERGY BALANCE...

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