The total radiation incident on the Earth from the sun is 1.73 x 1017 W. The total
surface area of the Earth is 510 million km2
a) Explain why the Earth radiates the same amount of energy into space as it
receives from the sun.
b) If we simply modelled the Earth as a perfect blackbody, use the StefanBoltzmann equation (P/A = sT
, s = 5.67 x 10-8 W m-2 K-4) to calculate what
the average temperature of the Earth would be. (NB! This calculation requires
attention to details to avoid errors!)
c) Use Wien’s law to determine which wavelength this ‘blackbody Earth’ would
predominantly radiate (i.e., the peak of the blackbody curve).
d) What type of electromagnetic radiation does the Earth predominantly emit?
e) In what ways is the Earth different from a blackbody?
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