The influence of cloudiness on the shortwave radiation budget at the top of the atmosphere, at the surface, and, as a residual, for the atmosphere is investigated for an area of +/- 60 degree(s) longitude and latitude. The data used is exclusively taken from satellite measurements. Calculations for the top of the atmosphere are based entirely on measurements of the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE). For the solar radiation budget at the surface, the incoming solar radiation at the surface is derived from Meteosat data and the surface albedo is calculated from ERBE clear sky planetary albedo measurements by applying an atmospheric correction scheme. As results, maps of absorbed solar radiation for the total earth-atmosphere system, the surface, and for the atmosphere are presented. To infer the contribution of clouds, the concept of cloud radiative forcing is applied to these different data sets.