5. Interaction of Sunlight with Earth

  1. C. Julian Chen

Published Online: 11 AUG 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781118172841.ch5

Physics of Solar Energy

Physics of Solar Energy

How to Cite

Chen, C. J. (2011) Interaction of Sunlight with Earth, in Physics of Solar Energy, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9781118172841.ch5

Author Information

  1. Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia University, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 11 AUG 2011
  2. Published Print: 6 JUL 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470647806

Online ISBN: 9781118172841



  • interaction of sunlight with earth - reflected, scattered or absorbed, before reaching the ground;
  • sunlight, absorbed by ground - penetrating Earth, stored as heat, shallow geothermal energy;
  • emissivity and Kirchhoff's Law - based on classical thermodynamics, emissivity equaling its absorptivity;
  • sunlight with atmosphere interaction - 70% of solar energy entering Earth, going back as heat radiation;
  • solar energy into Earth, with a time delay - at certain depth, annual temperature variation profile, reversed


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Interaction of Radiation with Matter

  • Interaction of Sunlight with Atmosphere

  • Penetration of Solar Energy into Earth

  • Problems