Research Brief: The Impact of Changes to Surface Albedo on Radiative Forcing

Chart from Brief "The Impact of Changes to Surface Albedo on Radiative Forcing" 2015 Issue 12
January 27, 2016

The energy entering, reflected, absorbed, and emitted by the earth are components of the earth's radiative budget. Modifications to surface albedo, a measure of the solar energy the earth’s surface reflects, have a direct impact on the relationship between the amount of energy reaching earth and the amount leaving it. A budget that is out of balance can cause atmospheric temperature to increase or decrease, and eventually affect the earth’s climate.

Previous studies have assessed climate impacts of albedo, but comparative analyses of different modeling approaches and results from existing studies are limited. This brief summarizes a study comparing results of existing studies. Among other indications, the normalized results reflected the sensitivities of the climate-related impacts to changes in surface albedo, and could be used to guide mitigation strategies. MORE.