A portion of the sunlight that enters the Earth system is reflected back into space by a combination of the clouds, aerosols, and gases in the atmosphere, as well as from the surface. The term "reflected shortwave radiation" refers to the sum total of all the shortwave electromagnetic energy, or sunlight at wavelengths ranging from 0.3 to 5 micrometers, that escapes from the top of the Earth's atmosphere back into space. The image above is a false-color map showing the amount of shortwave energy (in Watts per square meter) that was reflected by the Earth system for the given month(s). In the image, the brighter, whiter regions show where more sunlight is reflected, while green regions show intermediate values, and blue regions are lower values. Notice that regions that are typically cloudy tend to reflect more shortwave energy, while the land surface reflects less than clouds, and the ocean reflects less than the land. Sensor: Terra/CERES, ERBS/ERBE, NOAA 9/ERBE, NOAA 10/ERBE. Data Start Date: 11/1/84. Data End Date: 9/30/05.