Reflecting properties of surface

Ice and snow are white and reflect the sunlight teh best. Forests, soil, and oceans are darker, hence their heat-absorbing capacity is higher. When ice and snow melt, we have less of reflecting power and more absorbing. Ice and snow cover land and oceans (which are darker) and once they melt, the total area which absorbs the heat instead of reflecting it increases. That’s why Arctic ice and other reflecting surfaces are so important.

Growth of algae in the oceans makes their surface darker. This means lower albedo and higher heat absorption. Forests, which are darker, reflect very little energy. However, with deforestation, darker soil area decreased albedo further.

Together with land surface albedo, cloud’s albedo adds to the overall effect. Clouds can either have a reflecting effect, mostly when they are low and thick or let the light through when they are higher in the atmosphere and thinner.

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