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This letter contains a validation of the National Center for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research 40-year reanalysis radiation data sets to evaluate their accuracy in the determination of radiation fluxes. Unlike other recent studies that operate on a global scale, this letter concentrates on the regional aspects of climate research using high-resolution remote sensing data as a reference. These data sets are derived from Meteosat Second Generation, and the focus lies in the area between 35deg N to 60deg N, 10 deg N to 25deg E covering Central and Southern Europe and the surrounding sea. The examination of the incoming shortwave radiation, the surface albedo, and the solar radiation budget shows the influence of cloud cover parameterization and land-sea distribution as well as orographic and subgrid phenomena. The results lead to the conclusion that on a regional scale, the accuracy of the reanalysis products concerning solar radiation fluxes is limited.