Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963893 | Print ISBN: 9781412958783 | Online ISBN: 9781412963893| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
ENERGY IS TYPICALLY defined as the ability to do the work. According to the First Law of Thermodynamics, energy is always conserved, so it cannot be destroyed nor created, it only can be transformed from one form to another. Examples of different energy forms include thermal, radiant, potential, and kinetic energy. In particular, thermal energy or heat is energy transported across the system boundary by temperature difference. The energy transfer in the Earths atmosphere defines the energy cycle of the planet. The fundamental mechanisms for energy transport are radiation, convection, conduction, and evaporation/condensation. Radiation is energy transfer due to the oscillations of electromagnetic fields or photons that have properties of both particles and waves. The properties of radiation are defined by its wavelength (λ), which represents a distance between two successive wave crests. Atmospheric science is usually concerned with wavelengths that fall into ultraviolet, visible, and infrared parts of the ...