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Changes in Earth’s Albedo Measured by Satellite

Wielicki, B., T. Wong, N. Loeb, P. Minnis, K. J. Priestley, and R. Kandel (2005), Changes in Earth’s Albedo Measured by Satellite, Science, 308, 825, doi:10.1126/science.1106484.

The albedo of Earth, i.e., the fraction of the global incident solar radiation that is reflected back to space, is a fundamental parameter of global energy balance. Using earthshine data, recent report claims to have detected a large increase in albedo, although not over the entire solar spectrum from 0.3- to 4-µm wavelength. The earthshine results are primarily for visible wavelengths and represent about half of Earth's surface. The global CERES observations show a small decrease of about 2 W m-2 in shortwave reflected flux, equal to an albedo decrease of 0.006. These results stand in stark contrast to thearthshine results, which show a large increase of 6 W m-2 or an albedo increase of 0.017.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)