Why Radiation from the Sun is Brilliant

Sunday. It seems appropriate enough for civilizations to dedicate an entire day to the sun. The Sun has been a source of mythology, religion and the focus of science. And for good reason, without it we would all be dead.

The sun emits gives planet Earth more than 99.97% of its energy. Meaning, almost everything can directly trace its life source to some large star so very very far away. Strangely the sun feels so near on a hot summer day when it warms your skin. The radiation from the sun is what shapes our atmosphere, what gives us the current processes of evaporation and transpiration (turning water into water vapor), moves the winds, and heats our planet. Interestingly not all that is received from the sun is taken into the atmosphere, instead some of that radiation is reflected away into space. This ratio of radiation that bounces back is known as the planetary albedo.

So we have more intricate forces at work to thank for life here on Earth than just the sun. The atmosphere and reflective surfaces that keep our planet from taking in too much sun radiation, the moon, the oceans and the plant life are all part of the beautiful, complex and brilliant place that is our world.

Ref: Physical Geography, E. Miller

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