What is Surface Temperature & Why Study It?

 

A graph showing temperature levels across various types of living locations.

The temperature at the surface of the Earth is the actual boundary between the atmosphere and the ground.  This measurement is not normally recorded by official weather agencies.  

We specifically want to know how different land cover types such as concrete, asphalt, grass and bare soil affect the temperature of Earth’s surface.

When new buildings, roads and parking lots are built, our landscape is altered, and these changes can potentially warm up the planet.  This phenomenon is called the “urban heat island effect.”

The Energy Cycle

The way that energy from the sun is partitioned into evapotranspiration and heating of Earth’s surface.  All aspects of the energy cycle contribute to or are affected by surface temperature.

A chart showing how the sun's energy is absorbed by the Earth.