Light is the main source of energy for many ecosystems and a driving factor in fundamental ecological processes like photosynthesis and evapotranspiration. So, understanding and quantifying light effectively reaching Earth and living organisms can be of primary importance.

Indeed, not all solar radiation is able to reach Earth's surface, since gases and aerosols forming the atmosphere partially extinguish it. Light penetration in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems is also affected by other factors, like water depth and turbidity or vegetation.

This article analyzes the main aspects dealing with light extinction in ecology. Simple relationships for quantifying and modeling light extinction are presented, first-order kinetic Lambert-Beer law being the

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