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Albedo

  • William W. Hay
Chapter

Abstract

Albedo is the Earth’s reflectivity; about 30 % of the incoming solar radiation is reflected back into space. The reflectivity of different surfaces is highly variable. Forests absorb most of the incoming radiation; ice and snow reflect it. Most of the Earth’s reflectivity is from clouds. It was suspected that cloudiness might be a global thermostat ameliorating the effects of global warming, but this has turned out not to be the case. Volcanic ash and sulfur dioxide, as well as dust enhance planetary albedo as does anthropogenic pollution. This may be the cause of the leveling off of northern hemisphere temperatures from 1950 to 1970. Because of more extensive ice cover and during the Last Glacial Maximum, the planetary albedo was higher then.

Keywords

Sulfur Dioxide Loess Plateau Last Glacial Maximum Glacial Maximum Water Vapor Content 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Colorado at BoulderEstes ParkUSA

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