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The sun is the primary source of energy for Earth’s climate system.


This principle helps set the stage for understanding Earth's climate system and energy balance. The sun warms the planet, drives the hydrologic cycle and makes life on Earth possible. The amount of sunlight received on Earth's surface is affected by the reflectivity of the surface, the angle of the sun, the output of the sun, and the cyclic variations of Earth's orbit around the sun.

The basic science of solar energy and the role it plays for Earth's climate can be understood by middle school students, but the complexities of the Earth's energy balance remains an area of active scientific research. Thus, this topic is both elemental and complex.

Source: Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network

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