Wherever albedo values are less than
100%, some of the sunlight that strikes Earth's surface
is absorbed instead of reflected. As a surface absorbs
solar radiation, it becomes warm and radiates heat energy
to the air around it. For example, an asphalt road that
absorbs solar radiation through the day becomes very
hot, warming the air above it.
Watch the visualization below to see what happens to
the light energy that is not reflected. Red arrows represent
heat energy radiated by the surface.
Click the image to see the animation.