Research

How the Sun Drives the Earth

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This video describes how the sun’s energy drives wind and ocean currents on earth. As solar winds stream forth from the sun, our magnetosphere deflects the brunt of the impact (creating auroras at the poles) while the atmosphere, land masses, and oceans absorb thermal energy from the sun’s light. Because of our cycles of day and night and the differences in how land, water, and ice absorb heat, temperature differentials around the earth drive a massive heat engine, causing the circulation of water and wind all around our world. Numerical simulations like the ones underlying this video are vital for the prediction of climate and weather, as well as for developing models and techniques that can be applied to other problems in science and engineering. (Video credit: NASA; via Gizmodo)

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