Climate change
Climate change

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Climate change

1.2 What determines the Earth's GMST?

The Sun is the ultimate source of energy for the Earth's climate. A planet such as the Earth will have a stable temperature as long as there is a balance between the rate at which energy comes in from the Sun and the rate at which it is returned to space by the planet. If the two rates fail to match, the planet will either warm up or cool down until a balance is restored. Thus, it is appropriate to begin with a review of this global balancing act. The heart of the matter is that the energy flows to and from space are in the form of radiation - or to be more precise, electromagnetic radiation. You should consult Box 1 (Section 1.1) if you need to refresh your memory about this form of energy transfer.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus