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Absorption (electromagnetic radiation)
In physics, absorption is the process by which the energy of a photon is taken up by another entity, for example, by an atom whose valence electrons make transition between two electronic energy levels. The photon is destroyed in the process. The absorbed energy may be re-emitted as radiant energy or transformed into heat energy. The absorption of light during wave propagation is often called attenuation.
The absorbance of an object quantifies how much light is absorbed by it (not all photons get absorbed, some are reflected or refracted instead). This may be related to other properties of the object through the Beer-Lambert law.
For most substances, the amount of absorption varies with the wavelength of the light, leading to the appearance of colour in pigments that absorb some wavelengths but not others. For example, an object that absorbs blue, green and yellow light will appear red when viewed under white light. More precise measurements at many wavelengths allow the identification of a substance via absorption spectroscopy.
The specific phenomena involving absorption of electromagnetic radiation at the Earth's surface have several important aspects. These phenomena include regulating the temperature of the Earth's crust, surface waters and lower atmosphere. Changes in the Earth's crust such as glaciation, deforestation, polar ice melting, will necessarily alter the quantity and wavelength selectivity of electromagnetic absorption at the Earth's surface; correspondingly, changes in climate such as global warming may accompany changes in electromagnetic absorption or its inverse, the albedo. Regulation of the temperature of surface waters has been analyzed with respect to the influence of electromagnetic radiation absorption, indicating the effects of total solar insolation and the local albedo.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Absorption_(electromagnetic_radiation)". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|