The difference between total incoming energy and total outgoing energy.
The difference between total incoming energy and total outgoing energy. A positive balance results in warming; a negative, in cooling. Around the globe and over an extended timeframe, the energy balance has to be zero. Given that the climate system receives practically all of its energy from the sun, this equilibrium implies that, globally speaking, the average amount of incoming solar radiation must be the same as the sum of the reflected solar radiation and the thermal infrared radiation emitted by the climate system. A disruption of this global radiation balance, whether anthropogenic or naturally occurring, is referred to as radiative forcing. Read more here.