According to a new NASA-funded study, insights into Earths climate may come from an unlikely place: the moon.
Researchers Look at Moon for Climate Answers
This composite image of the dark sides Earthshine (left of image) and bright sides Moonshine (right of image) illustrates what scientists are looking at. Researchers used a blocking filter to dim the Moonshine crescent, typically about 10,000 times brighter than Earthshine.
Scientists looked at the ghostly glow of light reflected from Earth onto the moons dark side. During the 1980s and 1990s, Earth bounced less sunlight out to space. The trend reversed during the past three years, as the Earth appears to reflect more light toward space.
Though not fully understood, the shifts may indicate a natural variability of clouds, which can reflect the suns heat and light away from Earth. The apparent change in the amount of sunlight reaching Earth in the 1980s and 1990s is comparable to taking the effects of greenhouse gas warming since 1850 and doubling them. Increased reflectance since 2001 suggests change of a similar magnitude in the opposite direction.
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