The Earth is losing its shine due to climate change

Earth Climate Change Life

The warming of oceanic waters has caused a decrease in the brightness of the Earth, as fewer bright clouds reflect sunlight back into space and even more energy is trapped in our planet’s climate system, according to a study in AGU Geophysical Research Letters.

The team of researchers, which made decades of measurements of terrestrial light – the light reflected by the Earth that illuminates the surface of the Moon – and satellite measurements, found that the Earth now reflects about half a watt less light per square meter. then 20 years ago.

That equates to a 0.5% decrease in Earth’s reflectance, which reflects about 30% of the sunlight that illuminates it, and most of that decline has occurred in the last three years of data on terrestrial light.

The albedo suffered a significant fall due to something that happens on the planet

The data showed a “significant” decrease in the planet’s albedo (the reflection of sunlight on Earth) in the last two decades, said the New Jersey Institute of Technology (United States), which led the research.

“The fall of the albedo surprised us a lot when we analyzed the last three years of data, after 17 years of almost flat albedo,” explained Philip Goode, lead author of the study, which included the participation of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Spanish Canary Islands.

The net sunlight reaching Earth is affected by two factors: the brightness of the Sun and the reflectivity of the planet. The observed changes in albedo are not related to periodic changes in the Sun’s brightness, which means that the variations in Earth’s reflectivity are caused by something on our planet.

Climate Change affecting the Earth

The American coasts increased their temperature

The study indicates that, in recent years, there has been a reduction in bright, reflective low clouds over the eastern Pacific Ocean, based on satellite measurements made for NASA’s Ceres project.

That is the same area, off the western coasts of North and South America, where increases in sea surface temperatures have been recorded due to the reversal of a climatic condition called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, with probable connections to global climate change.

That the Earth goes dark also implies that there is an important additional solar energy that is in the atmosphere and the oceans, which can contribute to global warming

The planetary scientist at the University of California Edward Schwieterman considered that “it is quite worrying” and recalled that, for some time, many experts had hoped that a warmer Earth could lead to more clouds and a greater albedo.

That increased albedo would help moderate warming and balance the climate system, “but this shows otherwise,” Schwieterman said.