Sun's Radiationby Manuel Rodriguez

These pictures illustrate how the Sun's Radiation gets reflected back into the Atmosphere by the ozone layer, clouds, or the earth's surface. Some of the radiation gets absorbed by the atmosphere and clouds. About 51% of the Sun's Radiation travels and is absorbed by earth.


It is relatively common knowledge that along the equator it is generally warm, and becomes progressively cooler towards the poles. This is due primarily to solar radiation. The Earth is heated by radiation from the sun. As the sunlight enters the Earth's atmosphere, some of the solar energy is reflected, some is absorbed by the ozone layer residing in the Stratosphere and some makes it's way to the surface of the Earth. Once it reaches the surface, some is absorbed and heats a region, and some is reflected back into the atmosphere. The percentage of reflected solar radiation is referred to as a surface's albedo. This percentage is relatively low over water and land, but ice acts similarly to a giant reflective mirror and has an albedo closer to that of 85-90%. The poles are termed heat 'sinks' being that they lose more radiation than they receive ( Astronauts who have viewed Antarctica from space have claimed that it "radiates light like a great white lantern across the bottom of the world" (Trewby, 2002).

Surface Albedo

This picture shows the different percentages of radiation that is reflected by a natural surface.
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