In the study, published June 1 in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, scientists analyzed satellite data and calculated solar radiation.
Solar radiation refers to the electromagnetic radiation energy released by the fusion process in the core of the Sun.
In the study, it was determined that the solar radiation reached the most intense level in the Altiplano in the Atacama Desert in South America.
Mostly located in Bolivia, the Altiplano extends to Peru and Chile.
Scientists have calculated that on the Chajnantor plateau, on the Chilean side of the Altiplano, there is 2,177 watts of solar radiation energy per square meter. The researchers pointed out that 1360 watts of energy per square meter comes to the uppermost layer of the atmosphere, and that the amount in the Altiplano is even more.
“Equivalent to the radiation you would be exposed to if you were on Venus in the summer”
“This is actually equivalent to the radiation you would be exposed to if you were on Venus in the summer,” said Raul Cordero, one of the study’s authors.
An academic from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands reminded that Venus is 28 percent closer to the Sun compared to the Earth, and described the situation in Altiplano as “incredible”.
“If you are exposed to such a high radiation hazard, you need to protect your skin,” Cordero said of the radiation level on the world’s second highest plateau.
Clouds increase the solar energy coming to the region by 80 percent
The scientists also determined why the radiation levels were so high in the data they collected from the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in Chile.
In the research, it was determined that the thin and high-altitude clouds above this region at an altitude of 5 thousand meters increase the intensity of the radiation reflected on the surface, almost with the effect of a magnifying glass.
It was noted that the clouds increased the solar energy coming to the region by 80 percent. It was stated that the cloud formations in question were seen intensely in January and February, where the summer season is experienced in the Southern Hemisphere.