Mini Lesson

What is Albedo?

Mini Lesson

 What is Albedo?

This NASA video explains albedo. Albedo is the fraction of light that a surface reflects. If it is all reflected, the albedo is equal to 1. If 30% is reflected, the albedo is 0.3. The albedo of Earth's surface (atmosphere, ocean, land surfaces) determines how much incoming solar energy, or light, is immediately reflected back to space. This can have an impact on climate. 

Source: NASA Climate Bits; Albedo on Youtube

Review the video and answer the following questions.

  1. What is albedo?
  2. What do the colors represent in the weekly maps of reflected solar radiation for the past 10 years?
  3. How do these colors relate to albedo?
  4. Why is albedo important for Earth's climate?
  5. What pattern did you notice?

Teacher Note

Teachers who are interested in receiving the answer key, please contact MND from your school email address at mynasadata@lists.nasa.gov.

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