How Does Land Cover Affect Global Temperature?
ES1504  Non-Reflected Light

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.

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

5. What happens to solar energy that is not reflected from the surface?

6. Explain how the energy that is not reflected affects the air temperature directly above the surface.


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