The Sun heats the Earth's surface, atmosphere, and bodies of water. The Sun heats our globe, warming its surface, seas, and atmosphere. One of the key generators of our weather is the release of energy into the atmosphere. The amount of solar energy that Earth receives has a significant impact on our climate.
The Earth's orbit around the Sun goes through three major phases: winter, spring, and summer. During these seasons, we experience different patterns of sunlight exposure and darkness. Winter in the Northern Hemisphere is fall and winter in the Southern Hemisphere is summer. These names come from the fact that each season lasts about half of the year.
The Sun's Influence on Climate The Sun provides the majority of the energy that drives biological and physical processes in the world around us—in the seas and on land, it supports plant growth, which forms the foundation of the food chain, and in the atmosphere, it heats air, which drives our weather. The amount of energy from the Sun that reaches Earth's surface changes over time as well as across the surface of Earth. At any given place on Earth, sunlight is responsible for a wide range of effects, some beneficial and many not so much.
Sunlight plays an important role in the evolution of life on Earth because all organisms need energy to live and reproduce. Plants use the energy in sunlight to make sugar using the process of photosynthesis, which is why we often call plants "solar-powered machines." Animals then eat the plants or each other to get the sugar needed to fuel their own activities and those of the babies they're carrying in their bodies. Humans are no different - we also need sugar to survive and there's nothing wrong with eating vegetables instead of burgers and fries!
However, not everyone gets along when foods rich in sugar are popular. Many people gain weight when sugar is added to food because they like the taste of it too much to eat just vegetables -– even though vegetables are healthy they don't have the same flavor as cookies or cakes so people tend to overeat them.
The Sun heats our waters, stirs our atmosphere, creates weather patterns, and provides energy to growing green plants, which supply food and oxygen for life on Earth. The Earth benefits from the sun's energy all year round, regardless of whether or not we see it as a consequence.
During a solar eclipse, the moon blocks out part of the Sun, causing darkness where there would otherwise be light. This is when things start to get interesting for those who live near the Moon! During a total solar eclipse, the entire Moon is within the "path of totality" - the area of ground between the locations of greatest elevation along the path across the country or region. Because all direct sunlight is blocked from reaching the ground, only light from the remaining sources: the Sun already below the horizon and its reflection from the clouds, reaches it. Thus, during a total solar eclipse, the Earth's atmosphere acts as a mirror to reflect back to us the Sun's light after it has passed through her body.
People have been observing eclipses for over 2,000 years ago, when Chinese astronomers first recorded them. They used the positions of the Moon and the Sun to predict weather and agricultural changes (such as rainfalls) across the country.
The Sun's energy heats the Earth unevenly. Convection currents form in the atmosphere and ocean as a result. These are responsible for the redistribution of heat in the atmosphere and seas. The largest such current is called the global thermohaline circulation. It starts in the atmosphere, where dry air sinks to lower levels while moist air rises, carrying with it salt from the oceans. This flow changes direction across the Pacific Ocean where it enters the Indian Ocean. There it flows south toward Antarctica where ice shelves melt back into water that circulates around the planet again. Some of this water returns to the surface through rivers but most goes down deep underground. This whole process helps to regulate the Earth's climate.
The thermohaline circulation is important for several reasons. First of all, it carries heat from the tropics to higher latitudes, which would otherwise be cold. Secondly, it transports freshwater from the poles to the tropics, where it can be used to fuel evolution there. And lastly, it plays a role in cloud formation by bringing salt particles up from the depths of the ocean to form clouds. Without this flow, much of the world's rain would fall as snow instead.
The solar energy that reaches the Earth also causes chemical reactions that produce oxygen and other chemicals that we need for life.