Solar Energy Distribution

There are several things that can happen to the sun's energy as it reaches planet Earth. Some of it can be reflected by the Earth's atmosphere and clouds. Some solar radiation is absorbed the atmosphere and clouds. The majority of the sun's energy is absorbed by the Earth's surface. Only a small percentage of solar radiation is reflected by Earth's surface. The amount of solar radiation that is reflected back to space is known as albedo. Lighter colored surfaces such as snow, ice, and water have higher albedos, meaning they reflect large percentages of the sun's energy. Dark colored surfaces, such as roads, absorb large fractions of the sun's radiation.