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Ice Albedo: Black Soot and Snow

Black soot may contribute to melting glaciers and other ice on the planet and eventually a warmer Earth. Traveling potentially thousands of miles from its sources on air currents, this pollution eventually settles out of the air, onto land and into the oceans. On ice and snow, it darkens normally bright surfaces. Just as a white shirt keeps a person cooler in the summer than a black shirt, the vast stretches of polar ice covering much of the planet's top and bottom reflect large amounts of solar radiation falling on the planet's surface, helping regulate Earth's temperature. Soot lowers this albedo, or reflectivity, and the ice retains more heat, leading to increased melting.
Soot-darkened ice retains more light, contributing to the process. As light is absorbed, the environment is heated, thus intensifying a feedback loop: a warmer planet yields more ice melting and thus an even warmer planet.
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This is the standard definition version MPEG of the Ice Albedo (soot case) Animation.    This is the standard definition version MPEG of the Ice Albedo (soot case) Animation.
Duration: 23.4 seconds
Available formats:
  320x240     MPEG-1   3 MB
  720x486     Frames
  720x480     MPEG-2   17 MB
  640x480     MPEG-4   8 MB
  960x540     WEBM         5 MB
  320x180     PNG           73 KB
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This is the high resolution print still for the Ice Albedo (soot case) Animation.    This is the high resolution print still for the Ice Albedo (soot case) Animation.

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Animation Number:20023
Animator:Susan Twardy (HTSI) (Lead)
Scientist:James Hansen Ph.D. (NASA/GSFC GISS)
Writer:Kathryn A. Stofer
Goddard TV Tape:G2003-069
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab
SVS >> Byrne
SVS >> Earth Science
SVS >> Global Warming
SVS >> Gonnelli
SVS >> Ice Albedo
SVS >> Pollution
SVS >> Reflectance
SVS >> Reflectivity
SVS >> Soot
SVS >> Copenhagen
NASA Science >> Earth

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Many of our multimedia items use the GCMD keywords. These keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version logo - the U.S. Government's official Web portal. + Privacy Policy and Important Notices
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