Radiation transfers energy from the Sun to various parts of the Earth and its atmosphere. What process is driven by this transfer of energy?
  •   the constant pattern of ocean tides
  •   the spinning of Earth on its axis
  •   the movement of tectonic plates across Earth's surface
  •   the global circulation of the atmosphere and oceans

Expert Answers

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Radiation from the sun is transferred to the Earth. In fact, the sun is the ultimate source of energy on Earth. The radiation from the sun is converted into heat energy that is used to warm the earth. This heat energy is used to drive the circulation of the atmosphere and oceans. The circulation of the atmosphere and oceans is a result of convection currents. Convection currents are caused by density differences. These density differences are due to the expansion and contraction of particles as they gain energy.

The answer is not the “constant pattern of ocean tides” because this is a result of the moon’s gravitational pull on the ocean waters.

Earth’s magnetic poles cause it to spin on its axis, therefore this option is not the answer.

The movement of tectonic plates is also due to convection currents. However, the heat that generates the convection currents that drive tectonic plate movement comes from the heat of Earth's inner core. Therefore, this option is also not the answer.

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