02 October 2021

Scientists find an unexpected drop in Earth’s brightness.

A new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters has found that warming ocean waters related to climate change have caused a significant drop in Earth’s brightness.

According to observations gathered by the Big Bear Solar Observatory in Southern California, the Earth is now reflecting approximately half a watt less light per square meter compared to two decades ago, with most of the decrease occurring in the past three years.

By using decades of measurements of earthshine (the light reflected from the Earth which illuminates the Moon’s surface), together with satellite measurements, a team of researchers led by the New Jersey Institute of Technology recently discovered a significant drop in Earth’s reflectance, or “albedo,” over the past two decades. 

This 0.5 percent decrease in Earth’s brightness was quite unexpected, especially since it has mostly transpired in the past three years. “The albedo drop was such a surprise to us when we analyzed the last three years of data after 17 years of nearly flat albedo,” said study lead author Philip Goode, a researcher at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Source: www.earth.com

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