Less sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface has not translated into cooler temperatures, according to a team of solar physicists at New Jersey Institute of Technology
Less sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface has not translated into cooler temperatures, according to a team of solar physicists at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). The scientists, who monitor the Earth’s reflectance by measuring what is known as the moon’s earthshine, have observed that the amount of light reflected by Earth -- its albedo -- has increased since 2000. The result has been less sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface.
"Our findings have significant implications for the study of climate change," said Philip R. Goode, PhD, principal investigator and distinguished professor of physics at NJIT. "The results raise questions about how global temperatures can still rise when the amount of sunlight reaching the surface has decreased." The scientists find that the seemingly paradoxical result is due to an increase in the cloud cover coupled with a peculiar re-arrangement of the clouds, but are unsure why this is happening. This large variability of the clouds and albedo presents a fundamental, unmet challenge to our ability to understand and predict the Earth’s climate.
Sheryl Weinstein | EurekAlert!
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