Tropical and polar latitudes

Tropical

  • The Sun's rays are more concentrated, as the midday Sun is high in the sky throughout the year.
  • The Sun's rays have less atmosphere to pass through, so less energy is lost through absorption and reflection by the atmosphere.
  • In tropical rainforest areas, dense vegetation absorbs radiation giving a low relative albedo effect.
  • The Sun is directly overhead in the equatorial and tropical regions throughout the year.

Polar

  • The Sun's angle is much lower, so the rays of energy are spread out over a much larger area and are therefore less intense.
  • Because of the Earth's curvature, the rays must travel further through the atmosphere, with more chance of being reflected.
  • In polar regions, snow and ice cover reflect much more of the solar radiation, giving a high albedo effect.
  • For six months the Poles receive no solar energy due to the Earth’s orbit and tilt.
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