Earth's Albedo 1998–2017 as Measured From Earthshine

P. R. Goode, E. Pallé, A. Shoumko, S. Shoumko, P. Montañes-Rodriguez, S. E. Koonin

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22 Scopus citations


The reflectance of the Earth is a fundamental climate parameter that we measured from Big Bear Solar Observatory between 1998 and 2017 by observing the earthshine using modern photometric techniques to precisely determine daily, monthly, seasonal, yearly and decadal changes in terrestrial albedo from earthshine. We find the inter-annual fluctuations in albedo to be global, while the large variations in albedo within individual nights and seasonal wanderings tend to average out over each year. We measure a gradual, but climatologically significant (Formula presented.) 0.5 (Formula presented.) decline in the global albedo over the two decades of data. We found no correlation between the changes in the terrestrial albedo and measures of solar activity. The inter-annual pattern of earthshine fluctuations are in good agreement with those measured by CERES (data began in 2001) even though the satellite observations are sensitive to retroflected light while earthshine is sensitive to wide-angle reflectivity. The CERES decline is about twice that of earthshine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021GL094888
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 16 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


  • atmospheres
  • methods
  • observational
  • planetary systems
  • planets and satellites
  • spectroscopic techniques
  • stars: low mass


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