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What is the first law of thermodynamics? How is this law applicable to the earth’s energy balance?

Last updated date: 18th Jun 2024
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Hint: Thermodynamics refers to the study of heat and the phenomenon associated with it. There are three laws of thermodynamics known as the zeroth law, first law and the second law. The zeroth law of thermodynamics gives the concept of temperature and the temperature determines the flow of heat and it always moves from hotter body to colder body. The reverse of it cannot take place on its own and is clearly explained by the second law.

Complete answer:
The First Law of thermodynamics states that heat supplied to any system can be utilized in two ways- it could be used to do work on the system or it could be used to increase the internal energy of the system. For example, when heat is given to the matter and it gets exploded then work is done on the system.The first law is a direct consequence of the law of the conservation of energy.

The balance of energy on the earth exists on account of the first law. This implies that energy can’t be created nor be destroyed. It can, however, be transferred from one body to another. The balance between incoming energy from the sun and outgoing energy from Earth ultimately drives our climate. The earth gets heated up when solar radiation falls on it but it also radiates and when these radiations go out of the earth’s atmosphere, then this energy is emitted out of the earth and in this manner, balance is maintained.

Note:But this balance of energy is now being disturbed and one of the factors which is disturbing is the greenhouse effect.Because of this increase in temperature which is not due to any natural process, it creates an imbalance in the cycle which thereby affects other natural phenomenon such as uneven rainfall at some places, no rainfall at other places, melting of glaciers and icebergs, increase in the height of the ocean’s which will results in flooding of plains.