Flexi Says: Incoming solar radiation is strongest around noon, when the Sun is at its highest point in the sky. However, air temperatures continue to increase during the afternoon. This occurs as gases in the atmosphere continue to absorb heat from both direct sunlight and the ground surfaces, which radiate energy back into the surrounding air. On most days, the highest temperature occurs between 3pm and 6pm. The wide range is due to factors including how quickly the atmosphere is mixing on any given day, cloud cover, and other weather conditions.