the surface of the Atacama Desert receives as much solar energy as Venus

2023-07-25 06:00:08

The sunniest place on earth is none other than the Altiplano of the Atacama Desert, an arid plateau near the Andes mountains in Chile. It receives as much solar irradiance as the planet Venus.

Located at an altitude of about 4,000 meters, this sunny space receives more light than areas closer to the equator or at a higher altitude, according to a study published July 3 in the “Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society”. The Atacama Desert stands out for a variety of reasons. It is the oldest desert on Earth, the driest outside the poles and probably the place with the clearest night view. The Chilean Altiplano also stands out for its solar irradiance, the quantity (Quantity is a generic term for metrology (count, amount); a scalar,…) of energy (In common sense, energy designates everything that allows work to be done, manufacture…) of light emitted from the Sun (The Sun (Sol in Latin, Helios or Ήλιος in Greek) is the star…) towards the Earth. Scientists measured a world record 2,177 watts per square meter (Square meter (symbol m²) is the international system unit of area.) on the plateau.

Raul Cordero, lead author of the study and a climatologist at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, pointed to the amazing parallel with Venus. Indeed, Venus is about 28% closer to the sun than Earth and naturally receives more solar irradiance. It also reflects in space part of the solar energy (Solar energy is the energy that the sun dispenses by its radiation, directly or from…) received. According to Seiji Kato, a scientist (A scientist is a person who is dedicated to the study of a science or sciences and who…) of the atmosphere (The word atmosphere can have several meanings:) at NASA who was not involved in the study, this strong irradiance on the surface (A surface generally refers to the superficial layer of an object. The term a…) of the earth’s desert is due to the high altitude of the place, which is above the water vapor layer and has fewer clouds and aerosols.

The geographical location of Chile in the southern hemisphere (The southern hemisphere or southern hemisphere is half the globe…) also plays a role, especially in summer when the Earth is closer to the Sun. This results in a 7% increase in solar irradiance compared to the northern hemisphere. This new study confirms satellite data indicating that this region is the sunniest in the world, while explaining the reasons for these high levels of radiation (Radiation is a transfer of energy in the form of waves or particles, which can…).

Such exposure to the Sun is not without risks. “If you are exposed to such a high level of radiation, you must protect your skin,” warned Raul Cordero.

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