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Chapter 8

Energy on Earth icon

Using Earth system science, we discover that Earth is an open system with respect to energy. The functioning of our planet relies on a constant input of energy from the Sun. This energy leaves Earth in the form of heat flowing to outer space. Find out how the greenhouse effect keeps heat longer within the Earth system, why that is a good thing, and if we may be starting to have too much of a good thing.


  • Greenhouse Effect   DVD icon
    By viewing or creating their own physical simulation of the greenhouse effect, participants can gain a deeper understanding of this important concept. Also check out the "Greenhouse Effect" chapter on the DVD.
  • Three Principles Play   DVD icon
    This play illustrates that Earth is essentially a closed system for matter, an open system for energy, and a networked system for life. See it as part of "Dr. Art's Planet Earth Show" on the DVD.



  • Earth's Energy Budget
    Chapter 8 introduces the Big Idea that Earth has an energy budget with equal amounts of energy flowing in from the Sun and radiating back to outer space. This website from the Oklahoma Climatological Survey explains Earth's energy budget.
  • Electromagnetic Spectrum
    This site on discoveryschool.com has an extended lesson on the electromagnetic spectrum that includes an electromagnetic spectrum tutorial.
  • Volcano World
    Only Earth's internal energy can make mountains out of molehills. Volcano World is sponsored by the University of North Dakota Department of Space Studies and the NASA North Dakota Space Grant Consortium.

Just Kidding

500,000 Wavelengths, pages 132-133
I did not make Emiko Paul, this book?s illustrator, draw 500,000 wavelengths to show the wave nature of green light. She is my friend. I would not make her do that, even with cut and paste computer technology.