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If so, what could be the impact of these reflections on the sun during an ice age on Earth?

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The sun gives of $3.86 \times 10^{26}$ watts per second. The earth receives $1.74 \times 10^{17}$. The sun will recover only a small portion of that per second, even with perfect reflectivity. The sun will lose at most .0000000001% less energy based on the reflectivity of the earth. This is not even close to being significant for any practical purposes.

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  • $\begingroup$ How does the reflectivity of ice have any impact on the sun's nuclear fusion output? $\endgroup$ – Rick Mar 24 at 1:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Rick net energy output. Energy reflected off of the earth would increase the energy of the sun very slightly. This effect might reasonably be counterbalanced by some other effect I don't know of, but I wasn't really going in depth. I have no idea what effect on the suns nuclear fusion would be, and never claimed to. $\endgroup$ – rtpax Mar 24 at 2:32
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you both for your input. Do you think there is a place in the upper atmosphere in which this energy could be trapped? I have this question because most things in nature seem to be reactionary, and I was thinking there could be a way in which the ice caps reflectivity could get to a point in which it causes a plasma discharge that would melt ice. $\endgroup$ – Conan McGuire Mar 26 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ @ConanMcGuire I would recommend asking a separate question so more people would be able to see and answer. You will probably get better results if you do some google research of your own before asking, then using what you learn to ask a more informed question. $\endgroup$ – rtpax Mar 26 at 21:49
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The electromagnetic spectrum consists of all the different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, including light, radio waves and x-rays. It is a continuum of wavelengths, from zero to infinity. We name regions of the spectrum rather arbitrarily, but the names give us a general sense of the energy; for example, ultraviolet light has shorter wavelengths than radio light. The only region in the entire electromagnetic spectrum that our eyes are sensitive to is the visible region.

Electromagnetic radiation

The sun emits many forms of electromagnetic radiation in varying quantities. About 43 percent of the total radiant energy emitted from the sun is in the visible parts of the spectrum. The bulk of the remainder lies in the near-infrared (49 percent) and ultraviolet section (7 percent). Less than 1 percent of solar radiation is emitted as x-rays, gamma waves, and radio waves.

spectrum

The transfer of energy from the sun across nearly empty space (remember that space is a vacuum) is accomplished primarily by radiation. Radiation is the transfer of energy by electromagnetic wave motion.

Deep inside the core of the Sun, enough protons can collide into each other with enough speed that they stick together to form a helium nucleus and generate a tremendous amount of energy at the same time. This process is called nuclear fusion. Every second, a star like our Sun converts 4 million tons of its material into heat and light through the process of nuclear fusion. Even if the earth was a perfect reflector, it should have no impact on the nuclear fusion deep in the heart of the sun.

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