How is the atmosphere heated?

By Ritesh|Updated : September 6th, 2022

Earth's atmosphere gets heated due to the following three critical processes: conduction, advection, and convection. It is explained below with examples. Energy from the sun is transmitted through space and the atmosphere to the earth's surface.

Heating of Atmosphere


  • It is the process by which heat flows from objects of higher temperature to objects of lower temperature.
  • The air in contact with the soil gradually heats up, and the upper layers, which are in contact with the lower layers, also heat up.
  • The metal spoon in a soup pot heating on the stove will eventually begin to heat up.
  • Thermal energy is transferred from molecule to molecule or atom to atom, which causes this.
  • Additionally, the metal is heated during welding due to heat transfer from the arc.


  • The vertical heating of the atmosphere is known as convection.
  • When heated, the air in contact with the ground rises vertically in the form of currents and transfers heat to the atmosphere.
  • Air in the atmosphere acts like a fluid. Sunlight hits the ground and heats the rocks. As the temperature of the rock rises due to conduction, thermal energy is released into the atmosphere, creating a bubble of air warmer than the surrounding air.
  • This air bubble rises into the atmosphere.
  • The bubble cools as it rises, releasing the heat it holds into the atmosphere.


The transfer of heat by horizontal air movement is called advection.


How is the atmosphere heated?

There are 3 main reasons for atmospheric heating: advection, conduction, and convection. They all are different in their ways for the reason for the heating of the atmosphere.


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