Cloud cover and albedo

• Cloud cover (also known as cloudiness. cloudage or cloud amount) refers to the fraction of the sky obscured by clouds when observed from a particular location. .

more heat reaches the earth's surface (as in the diagram below). This leads to warmer temperatures. If skies are clear.Effects of Cloud Cover • During the day. . the earth is heated by the sun.

Therefore. which causes the earth to heat up more slowly. . This leads to cooler temperatures. less of the sun's energy is able to reach the earth's surface. if skies are cloudy.• However. some of the sun's rays are reflected off the cloud droplets back into space.

heat emitted from the earth's surface freely escapes into space. If skies are clear. resulting in colder temperature .• At night cloud cover has the opposite effect.

• However. . temperatures decrease more slowly than if the skies were clear. some of the heat emitted from the earth's surface is trapped by the clouds and reemitted back towards the earth. As a result. if clouds are present.

they efficiently reflect light to space and thus contribute to the cooling of the planet.Role in the climate system • Clouds play multiple critical roles in the climate system. . being bright objects in the visible part of the solar spectrum. • A small increase in cloud cover could. in principle. balance the heating resulting from greenhouse gases (though this may have other implications as well). In particular.

• The greenhouse effect. the albedo of the Earth is 0. For example. by trapping infrared radiation. can lower the albedo of the earth and cause global warming. .Albedo • The term albedo (Latin for white) is commonly used to applied to the overall average reflection coefficient of an object.39 (Kaufmann) and this affects the equilibrium temperature of the Earth.

World distribution . .org/wiki/Albedo • • http://ww2010.References • • • http://en.

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