The Earth is losing its luster (and yes, it has to do with the climate)

You may not know it, but Earth has a natural glow when you watch the ball from space. This brilliance is called “albedo”: the reflectivity of the Earth. Higher albedo means that the Earth is reflecting more light and heat back into space. A recent study showed that the albedo of the Earth is not increasing in height, but in fact decreasing. This is not good news.

The scientific research was recently published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters. The results show that Earth’s luster has declined in the past two decades. According to scientists, the cause of this phenomenon may be related to climate change.

Earth shine a little less

Modern scientific research shows that the Earth “radiates” almost half a percent less than it did at the end of the twentieth century. Less than half a percent seems to be a small difference, but it certainly isn’t.

The Earth reflects about 30% of the sunlight that falls on it. The decrease in albedo means that the Earth reflects 0.5 percent less sunlight than it did a few years ago.

The decrease in albedo was due to Philip Good, an astronomer at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, was surprised. The scientists examined data from the past three years and noticed a difference of half a percent, while data from the previous 17 years show almost no change.

NASA ARD
Soil (Image: NASA)

Relationship with the climate

The amount of sunlight reaching the Earth depends on two things: how bright the sun is, and how reflective the albedo is. However, the option that the albedo is less reflective because the sun periodically shines less strongly has been ruled out by scientists. This means that the low luminosity is caused by something on the ground.

The extent of the albedo inversion is affected by cloudiness, among other things. Scientists team Compare their findings with those of NASA Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) to investigate the effect of clouds on albedo. There are fewer and fewer low clouds over the eastern Pacific Ocean (the Pacific Ocean), reducing light and a heat-reflecting surface. The decrease in low clouds is due to climate change.

Until now, scientists had hoped that a warmer Earth would lead to more clouds, higher albedo, and thus more heat inversion. This result would have helped us restore balance on Earth. Unfortunately, this research shows the opposite: a warmer Earth has fewer lower clouds, resulting in higher albedo. So less light and heat is reflected back into the room.

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The Earth is losing its luster (and yes, it has to do with climate change)

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