Looking for a scientific term for the earth's light absorption


I’m looking for a scientific term for the earth’s solar radiation absorption as opposed it its refection (albedo effect). I haven’t been able to find one. I look forward to your feedback.

Solar irradiance perhaps?

Are you sure albedo isn’t the right word? A low albedo means a high absorbtion and vice versa.

Thanks Quartz. Very helpful


Anyway … “absorptivity”.

Isn’t the albedo the AMOUNT of reflection, so low albedo means it absorbs ??
Albedo is the fraction of solar energy (shortwave radiation) reflected from the Earth back into space. It is a measure of the reflectivity of the earth’s surface. Ice, especially with snow on top of it, has a high albedo: most sunlight hitting the surface bounces back towards space

There may be an albedo effect or the idea that the albedo is due to reflection, but when measured, albedo can go from 0% to 100%…

Solar irradiance isn’t it. That’s the strength of solar radiation arriving at the top of the atmosphere. IOW, it’s the solar output BEFORE any Earthly reflection or absorption is applied.

Agree that “albedo” is still the appropriate term. 10% albedo = 90% absorption.

Insolation? … = 1 - albedo … not quite right but might be the closest we’ll get …

Albedo is the ratio of energy that’s reflected … I think the exact term for the ratio of absorption is simply ( 1 - albedo ) …

Clearly albedo is the right answer. In keeping with some other measures that work both ways, I would propose odebla as the appropriate term for the OP’ specific need.

The only term that specifically refers to the converse of albedo is “absorption”, but since that can have different specific interpretations – e.g.- greenhouse gases absorb and re-emit solar radiation, but are optically transparent – the correct term for surface radiative brightness would simply be “albedo”, and a surface that has high solar absorption like a black roof would simply be said to have “low albedo”. If something happens to darken the earth’s surface and increase its solar absorption (as indeed is happening in the Arctic), the appropriate description is “reduced albedo”.

Right, irradiance certainly isn’t it. Just a small nit, though. Irradiance can be be measured anywhere, and indeed insolation, which is usually associated with measurements at the earth’s surface, is simply defined as irradiance at that location over a given area over a set period of time. Your description is correct with regard to a specific metric called Total Solar Irradiance (TSI), which is defined as the total irradiance at the top of the atmosphere, and is thus a metric that correlates with variations in the sun’s output (due to sunspot cycles, for example).