The average global net radiation at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) is defined as the difference between the energy absorbed and emitted by the planet.
In an equilibrium climate state, the global net radiation at the TOA is zero.
In the presence of an increasing climate forcing, an imbalance between the energy absorbed and emitted occurs,
and in response the climate system must react to restore the balance (e.g., by changing temperature).
The rate at which the earth reacts is modulated by its capacity to store energy.
Given that oceans are 10 times more efficient at storing heat than other components of the climate system (e.g., land, ice, atmosphere; Levitus et al. 2001),
the global net radiation at the TOA should be in phase with and of similar magnitude as the global ocean heat storage.
At the top-of-atmosphere (TOA), the Earth’s energy budget involves a balance between how
much solar energy Earth absorbs and how much terrestrial thermal infrared radiation is emitted to space.
Since only radiative energy is involved, this is also referred to as Earth’s radiation budget (ERB). NG Loeb, W Su et al 2016
A natural balance exists in the Earth system between incoming solar radiation and outgoing radiation that is emitted back to space as either light (direct reflection of sunlight)
or heat (infrared emission from surfaces).
This balance, referred to as Earth’s radiation budget (ERB), determines the climate of the Earth and makes our planet hospitable for life.
Chemical Sciences Laboratory NOAA
Earth’s Energy Budget
The TOA ERB describes the balance between how much solar energy the Earth absorbs and how much terrestrial thermal infrared radiation it emits.
N.G. Loeb, … W.F. Miller, in Comprehensive Remote Sensing, 2018