- Study Helper
so, I would say that albedo is the measure of how much short wave incoming solar radiation is reflected back into space, depending on the colour of the surface, type of surface and the angle of incidence. A surface which is flat and shiny where the sun is directly overhead, the amount of insolation is most concentrated so a lot of radiation reaches the earths surface. However, the shiny surface, such as deep thick freshly laid snow, will reflect around 80-90% of this insolation back to space, therefore giving it a high albedo rate.
hope this helps
- Study Helper
I know it has already been answered, but I will still contribute!
Albedo is the reflectivity of a surface. For example, the albedo of an ice cap is greater than the albedo of a tarmac road. This is because the surface of the ice cap reflects the sunlight and its energy (insolation), whereas the tarmac road absorbs much of this energy. In addition, the tarmac road has a higher specific heat capacity opposed to the ice cap.
In stages known as 'Greenhouse Earth', whereby higher global temperatures are experienced, there is little ice cap cover. Therefore, the albedo of the Earth as a whole is reduced therefore leading to an increase in the temperature due to less sunlight and therefore energy being reflected back into space. On the other hand, 'Icehouse Earth' periods are characterised by extensive ice cover and lower global temperatures. Therefore, with the increased ice cover the albedo value for the Earth as a whole is increased meaning that more incoming sunlight (insolation) is reflected back into space furthering the global cooling experienced.
Sorry it's a bit of a late reply, but I tried to give you some examples as you said you were struggling to understand the information that came up when you searched it on the internet!