Lv 4
? asked in EnvironmentGlobal Warming · 2 months ago

What is the total power of solar energy on the Earth's surface?

As a simplifying assumption, assume that the Earth is a perfect sphere, has no atmosphere and assume it absorbs everything. Then, divide that by the surface area of Earth to get the average solar flux on the Earth's surface.


I'm asking this question because there seems to be confusion among some people about where the factor of four comes from in the energy balance diagram and other calculations, and I hoped this might illuminate that.

Update 2:

Thanks Christian, but that's not what I'm looking for. The Earth is a sphere, a certain amount of sunlight falls on it (neglecting albedo, etc.)  You can use the total solar irradiance to determine the total power of the sun.  You can also neglect the eccentricity of the Earth's orbit and just assume it's a perfect circle.  All that should give you a SINGLE number.

Update 3:

Solar Wind posted an answer that did not answer the question, then deleted it. He claims the standard methods for approaching the problem are wrong, but he cannot explain what the "correct" method is. Perhaps one of his buddies that sound exactly like him will try.

Update 4:

Oh good, you’re back Solar Wind. Please show us how to calculate what I asked for in the question. Feel free to use any value you like  for TSI. You keep claiming that others are off by a factor of 4, so I want you to show your correct method. I believe the method I use takes into account the spherical geometry of the Earth, show me how I’m wrong.

Update 5:

Daro, if you can do the problem with fewer simplifying approximations, by all means do it. I was hoping that Solar Wind could show us all the error of our ways and demonstrate the "correct way of doing the calculation, but it appears that neither you nor he are able to do that. Either put up or shut up.

Update 6:

It appears that neither Solar Wind nor Daro have any clue how to do this simplified problem.  Solar Wind only defers to a paper by Postma that was never published in any actual journal, and Daro can't even manage that. It should be that difficult a problem: tell me how much of the suns energy is falling on the Earth every second. Do the calculation yourself or stop whining about other people.

Update 7:

This is kind of amusing: I just looked at Solar Wind's Postma reference, and it turns out that he reduces the solar flux by a factor of 4 in exactly the way that Solar Wind complains about!

6 Answers

  • Al P
    Lv 7
    2 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    There are different ways to do this. It looks like you're offering this simple one if I understand correctly.

    Energy out = Energy in

    Power_out  * 4*pi*r^^2 = Power_in * pi*r^2

    Total solar flux at 1 AU absorbed by a perpendicular disk is equal to the total flux emitted by a sphere where r is the radius of Earth and given equilibrium and conservation of energy. Maybe they can tell us what Earth's ideal black body temperature would be.

  • F
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    About 1000x more than we need for all our energy needs if we could harvest it properly.

  • 2 months ago

    --LMAO.  AIP is a Dirac sock puppet.  He gives himself best answers.  What is lamo clown.

  • Daro
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    "....assume that the Earth is a perfect sphere, has no atmosphere and assume it absorbs everything. "

    Typical fake Dirac. Claims to be some kinda "scientist" but actually lives in liberal fantasyland.

    **** There's "problem" to "do". The one i posted makes a lot more sence than some fictional fantasy planet which never existed.

    Fake D is getting frustrated as his drivel has been discredited so many times. Now desperately trying to make anyone believe he has any credentials at all .....too late for that , chief.


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  • 2 months ago

    This web site tells you what the Sun is doing.  I deleted the acrim web site that shows the total solar irradiance for solar cycles 23 to present. Looks like the censors didn't like the source.

    The average temperature of the Earth has been shown as 15 degrees centigrade for over a hundred years. I have seen figures such as 14.8, 14.67 degrees C, but they have been rounded off to 15.

    Your alarmist buddies through the incompetent models say there has been an increase of .85 to 1.2 degrees C increase, but 15 has not changed.

    New climate science research and discoveries have proved that the models have vastly underestimated solar forcing, not included galactic cosmic ray flux, cloud cover forcing and newly found high energy particle forcing.

    Face it AGW is just a hypothesis that didn't work out.

    Here are Postma's calculations: 


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  • 2 months ago

    Total global annual solar energy potential amounts to 1,575 EJ (minimum) to 49,837 EJ (maximum)

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