Multitasking, Climate Saving Measures

February 22, 2010 at 4:16 PM Leave a comment

by Bruce Mulliken, Green Energy News

On a clear, hot summer’s day a barefoot walk on an asphalt road is a foot-burner: The black surface is absorbing sunlight and heat is radiating into the soles ones’s feet and everything else nearby. A barefoot walk on a on light gray sidewalk is not so bad, hot perhaps but not burning. Sunlight is being reflected from the light-colored surface, not absorbed. As a whole our planet is like the street and sidewalk. The dark oceans, which cover most of our home, absorb the Sun’s rays as do the land areas not covered by snow and ice. Those areas that are the glistening white, those cloud tops and snowy icy areas, reflect sunlight back into space where it can do us no harm. Yet as glaciers and the ice caps shrink (mostly the Arctic cap for the time being) more dark sunlight-absorbing surfaces are being exposed adding warmth to the planet. The ability to reflect sunlight is known as a change in Earth’s albedo, and it is changing. But if man is responsible for warming the planet’s atmosphere with his emissions and causing white, reflecting areas to melt and disappear, man can also counteract the changing albedo by adding man-made reflectivity to his surroundings.

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Entry filed under: Climate Change, Green Biz, Sustainable Living, US. Tags: , , , .

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