Clouds are an essential component of the climate change that is taking place on our planet. Scientists are trying to understand how this overall problem will turn out and how it will change the climate in the future.
A new study shows that clouds currently reflect less light. The research is based on two decades of observations of a phenomenon called “Earthshine,” the light that the Earth reflects off the surface of the far side of the Moon, along with satellite observations of the Earth’s reflectivity, or albedo, and the Sun. .
Scientists at the Big Bear Solar Observatory in Southern California have been studying how Earth’s light has wobbled since 1998 and combined this data with observations from NASA’s clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System project, which has been running since 1997.
The result is this: Over two decades, the amount of light reflected from the Earth has decreased by about 0.5%, or less by half a watt of light per square meter.
Because light not reflected in space is trapped in the Earth’s system, the change in brightness also has climate effects, which could increase the frequency of human-caused climate change.
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