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

Conduction:

  • 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.

Convection:

  • 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.

Advection:

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

Summary:

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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