The Earth is gradually becoming less bright

Climate change is to blame, affecting the number and role of clouds: why the Earth is becoming less bright

The Earth is changing a lot, at a rate that is difficult for us to observe but for the rhythms of our planet is very fast. And often, the cause or accomplice is climate change. We often see this with animals, which have had to adapt to a changing habitat.

For example, scientists have noticed that the Earth is becoming less bright, and have sounded the alarm. Let's try to understand why this could be a problem.

Why Earth is getting less bright

The discovery comes from combined research by the Big Bear Solar Observatory, which studies how light fluctuates, and NASA, with the Cloud's and the Earth's Radiant Energy System project.

The study focused on the role of clouds, also a key element of the climate change that is disrupting our planet because they affect it and in turn are affected by it.

Clouds are in fact reflecting less sunlight. And it was discovered thanks to twenty years of observations of the phenomenon called "earthshine", that is, the ability of the Earth to reflect light on the surface of the Moon. To this study was also added an observation of the earth's reflectivity (the albedo) and solar.

And the result speaks for itself: in twenty years, the amount of light reflected from the Earth has decreased by 0.5%, so half a watt less light per square meter. Half of this decline has occurred in the last three years, mainly due to a decrease in low clouds over the eastern Pacific Ocean, a region where the climate crisis has had the effect of warming ocean waters: also complicit in this warming is the huge presence of plastic in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, for which a solution is being considered.

This is one of the elements that has disoriented scientists, who expected an increase in the amount of clouds (and therefore an increase in the ability to reflect light) precisely because of the increase in temperature. But that's not what happened.

And as a result, light not reflected back into space remains trapped on Earth, with the effects on climate change and rising temperatures that we can imagine, such as rising sea levels.