scorecardThe earth is losing its shine and here’s why we should be worried
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The earth is losing its shine and here’s why we should be worried

The earth is losing its shine and here’s why we should be worried
LifeScience2 min read
  • A new study revealed that the earth is reflecting less light due to climate change.
  • The study found the reason behind this is due to the reduction in bright, low-lying clouds.
  • It also warned that the earth's dimming could contribute to global warming.
Climate change is causing heat waves, melting glaciers and icebergs, intense droughts and possibly everything that can deteriorate the planet. A new study now says that climate change is causing the earth to lose its shine. What’s happening is that the “light reflected from Earth that illuminates the surface of the Moon” known as “earthshine” has dropped over the past two decades.

According to a new study by the Advancing Earth and Space Science, the earth is now reflecting about half a watt less light per square meter than it was 20 years ago. This is a drop of about 0.5% in the last two decades. The study revealed that this drop can be caused by two things which are the sun’s brightness and the planet’s reflectivity. Based on the changes observed by the researchers, the periodic changes in the sun’s brightness which included two periods of maximum brightness and one quiet period did not relate to this drop which led to the conclusion that it is caused by something on the planet.

Why is it happening?

The study found that satellite measurements from NASA’s Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) project recorded a reduction in bright and reflective low-lying clouds over the Pacific ocean have decreased in recent years. The biggest drop in earthshine occurred during the last three years which is between 2017 and 2019 based on the CERES data. This is also the same area where there have been increases in sea surface temperatures likely due to climate change.

The researchers added that the dimming of the earth also shows how much solar energy is captured by its climate system, and once this additional solar energy is in the planet’s atmosphere and oceans, it may increase global warming. This extra sunlight is said to be of the same magnitude as the total anthropogenic climate which is regarded as the climate change caused by burning fossil fuels.


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