New research reveals climate change is making Earth less reflective, according to article published iin the review Geophysical research letters.
“The reflectance of the Earth is a fundamental climatic parameter that we measured from the Big Bear Solar Observatory between 1998 and 2017 by observing the brightness of the earth using modern photometric techniques to accurately determine the daily, monthly, seasonal, annual and decadal changes in the earth’s albedo from the glow of the earth, “the researchers wrote in their article. “We measure a ~ 0.5 gradual, but climatologically significant W / m2 decline in global albedo over two decades of data. “
The reflectance of the Earth is essential determinant of terrestrial climate, since climate change results from the simultaneous evolution of solar intensity, terrestrial albedo and greenhouse insulation.
To reach their conclusion, sthe scientists looked at data from the Big Bear Solar Observatory in Southern California and assessed the fluctuation in the earth’s brightness since 1998. They then combined that data with observations from NASA. Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy (CERES) which had been active since 1997, and with the instruments of a few satellites of NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
It should be noted that most of the reflectance changes have taken place over the past year, indicating that the effects of climate change are increasing exponentially. Researchers attribute this development primarily to a change in clouds.
Clouds are notoriously difficult to study because scientists do not fully understand their relationship to the elements of Earth. However, in this study, the researchers attribute the decline in reflectance to clouds over the Pacific Ocean.
Clouds are known to reflect about half of the sunlight that hits them, while snow and ice that fall from clouds reflect most of the light they receive. What do these new discoveries mean for our planet and climate change? It’s too early for scientists to draw any conclusions, but one can imagine that any changes caused by global warming would be cause for concern.