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Variables Affecting Earth's Albedo DLESE Reviewed Collection
Earth's albedo is the fraction of incoming radiation (sunlight) that is reflected into space. The Earth has an average albedo, which describes how much sunlight is reflected on average for the whole planet and the whole year. The Earth also has a local albedo, which determines how much of the Sun's light is reflected from a particular place at a particular time. The local albedo depends on the particular local surface, which can change seasonally as vegetation changes. It also depends on more rapidly changing things such as snow and clouds. In this lesson, students will investigate one of the variables that affect the Earth's albedo. They will collect and graph data on Earth's albedo from two surface types at the same latitude over a period of two years. They will then use the data to calculate how much difference there is in Earth's albedo between the two locations and suggest reasons for the differences.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Computer activity
    • Lesson plan
Subject:
  • Atmospheric science
  • Climatology
  • Geographical Sciences:
    • Physical geography
  • Mathematics
Technical requirements:
Excel spreadsheet
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
This product is free and clear for general use.
DLESE Catalog ID: MYND-000-000-000-071
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Structure of the earth system
      • E - Science and technology:
        • Understandings about sci. / tech.
    • 9-12:
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Geochemical cycles
      • E - Science and technology:
        • Understandings about science and technology
  • National Geography Standards:
    • Places and regions:
      • The physical and human characteristics of places
    • The world in spatial terms:
      • How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Contact: Dr Lin Chambers
NASA