Quick Bite: Albedo Comparison

10 minute clock icon Quick Bite: Albedo Comparison

The Earth has an average albedo of about 0.3, which means that Earth reflects an average of about one-third of the sunlight it receives back into space. The table below shows approximate albedo values for a variety of surfaces and materials. What do you notice? Based on this table, how do you think the average albedo of the Arctic compares to the average albedo of the entire Earth? What about the region where you live?

Table: Albedos of different surfaces on Earth

Substance or Surface  Albedo
Whole Earth average 0.3
Fresh snow 0.8-0.9
Sea ice 0.5-0.7
Desert sand 0.4
Green grass 0.25
Bare soil 0.17
Conifer forest 0.08-0.15
Open ocean 0.06
Fresh asphalt 0.04