Solar Energy Animation

daily energy intensity fo r the earth's surface
(energy intensity is measured in 107 Joules per square meter)



This animation demonstrates how the intensity of the energy reaching Earth's surface from the sun varies with location and time. Both intensity and declination (latitude of Earth which is closest to the sun) vary through the months.

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First select whether or not solar declination should be constant or vary using the "Solar Declination Varies" menu. Next select the month for which you would like to view energy intensity. When adjusting these parameters the visualizer will update to reflect the menu selections. Also note that there may be a delay between when menu selections are made and the visualizer update takes place. To step through the days of the year, then use the animation start and stop tools or the next and previous frame tools.


Solar Declination Varies

Enable or disable variations in the sun's declination as it varies through the year. Declination represents the latitude which is closest to the sun and thusly gets the greatest intensity of energy. Disabling this will show that energy intensity still varies through the year as a function of the Earth's distance from the sun.



Select a month of the year to view

Play, Stop

These controls start and stop the animation. Starting the animation will display changes in energy intensity as they vary by day of the year.

Previous Frame, Next Frame

Display the next or previous day's energy intensity values.

PopUp Image

This button will open a new window with the current energy intensity display.

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The data used for creating the images in this viewer were made using formulas adapted from Physics of Climate, J. P. Peixoto, A. H. Oort, American Institude of Physics 1992.

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