Encyclopedia of Remote Sensing

2014 Edition
| Editors: Eni G. Njoku

Sea Ice Albedo

  • Donald Perovich
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-36699-9_29


Frozen oceans; Sunlight reflection


Albedo – the fraction of sunlight reflected by a surface.

Bidirectional reflectance distribution function – the angular distribution of light reflected by a surface as a function of sun angle.

Irradiance – sunlight integrated over a hemisphere with units of watts per meter squared.

Leads – areas of open ocean in a sea ice cover.

First year ice – ice that has not yet endured an entire summer melt season.

Multiyear ice – ice that is one or more years old.


The reflection of sunlight from sea ice is of considerable importance for the interpretation of remote sensing imagery and for the large-scale surface heat budget of the ice cover. Light reflection can be characterized by two terms: the albedo and the bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF). These quantities can either be spectral or integrated over the solar spectrum (wavelengths from 280 to 2,500 nm).

The albedo is simply the fraction of the incident...
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Perovich
    • 1
  1. 1.USACE Cold Regions Research and Engineering LaboratoryHanoverUSA