, Volume 42, Issue 2–3, pp 329–336 | Cite as

Investigation into albedo-controlled energy loss during the last glaciation

  • Britta Bielefeld


In recent years, attention has increasingly been paid to the question of the stability of the earth's climate. It has been observed that changes in climate are usually related to changes in the earth's surface. On this question, Liedtke writes ‘A change in climate can lead to considerable landscape changes’ (Liedtke 1990, p. 38). There seems to be some form of interaction between climate and the condition of the earth's surface. If solar radiation is taken to be the primary energy source for the earth's climate, the question arises as to how insolation affects the character of the earth's surface, and vice versa, how does the character of the earth's surface affect the insolation which occurs? Reconstructions of the last great Pleistocene glaciation 18,000 years ago show that the form of the earth's surface at that time was considerably different to its present form. In view of the interaction mentioned above between climate and earth surface, does this suggest a difference between the earth's radiation budget 18,000 years ago and that of today? If, as is widely believed, the area of the earth's surface covered by ice 18,000 years ago was approximately three times the current area (Liedtke 1990, p. 42), this presumably would have had at least some influence on the earth's radiation budget. The ice-covered areas may have modified the radiation budget by means of their high reflexivity. In other words, an albedo-related loss of radiation may have occurred. The results of this investigations show, that the global radiation budget at 18,000 B.P was about 7- -10% less than that of today.


Solar Radiation Energy Source Insolation Energy Loss Pleistocene 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Britta Bielefeld
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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