Celestial light and earthshine

Posted: January 17, 2015 by tchannon in Astronomy, climate, Clouds, Measurement, moon, Uncertainty

This paper is about adding a further layer of correction to earthshine measurements and therefore albedo determination by terrestrial based observations.

Influence of celestial light on lunar surface brightness determinations: Application to earthshine studies
P. Thejll, H. Gleisner, C. Flynn
A&A 573 A131 (2015)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201424824
(open access with registration)

ABSTRACT

Aims. We consider the influence of celestial-sphere brightness on determinations of terrestrial albedo from earthshine intensity
measurements. In particular, the contributions from zodiacal light and starlight are considered.

Results. We find that celestial-sphere surface brightness can be so large that a considerable and unacceptable error level would have
an impact on half of typical earthshine-based albedo-determinations if left unaccounted for. Considering the empirical uncertainty on
ZL, we show that almost all our earthshine data can be used if a sky correction is made. In real observations we find up to a 1% effect
on albedo results of correcting for the celestial brightness.

From the body of the paper

Satellites cannot yet observe terrestrial albedo with long-term accuracy beyond the 1% limit (Kieffer & Stone 2005). Careful ground-based observations of earthshine intensity potentially offer a way to obtain albedo data more accurately and at a fraction of the cost of space-based systems (MacDonald et al. 1992; Flatte et al. 1992).

Part of the problem is telescopes seeing the sky around the moon which is an additional complication if it is not black. Optical telescope work involves a lot of compensation anyway, such as subtract of known sensor offset, uneven response across the field and so on.

IMO albedo determination is dubious anyway at least because of spectral effects so I guess in the medium term a combination of earthshine and satellite data is all there is on offer. Longer term I doubt we will worry about albedo other than as a niche academic matter.

Post by Tim

Comments
  1. Albedo is one of the MOST IMPORTANT factors in determining the climate of the earth. I want data on this climatic item as often as possible.

    Even if satellites can not measure it perfectly they can tell us the trend in albedo which is what matters.

    A 1% change in albedo has significant climatic impacts.

  2. http://www.geo.umass.edu/courses/climat/radbal.html

    A calculator to make calculations of earth’s temp. based on solar /albedo parameters . Quite good

  3. Notice how much the global temp . changes when different albedo values are put into the calculator.

  4. Paul Vaughan says:

    Tim wrote:
    “Longer term I doubt we will worry about albedo other than as a niche academic matter.”

    Mostly agree. It seems to me that in climate discussion a lot of people try to ascribe to albedo that which is properly ascribed to circulation (including sun-driven wind’s effect on ocean surface evaporation, vertical mixing, & meridional heat flux).

    Ed Caryl had an encouraging article at No Tricks Zone recently:
    http://notrickszone.com/2015/01/11/sea-level-goes-the-way-the-wind-blows-wind-pressure-play-major-roles/

    Clearly Ed’s awareness is sharpening. For me that article inspired a briefly-obsessive net-hunting spree. I found a lot of good links that I haven’t yet had time to share.

    The lead author of the article Tim highlights is Thejll. Does everyone remember Thejll work (on solar cycle length) we’ve discussed previously at the Talkshop?

    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/lassen-and-thejll-close-correlation-found-between-solar-activity-and-arctic-ocean-climate/

    TB’s DMI link expired. Replacements:
    http://ny.dmi.dk/fileadmin/Rapporter/SR/sr05-02.pdf
    http://beta.dmi.dk/fileadmin/Rapporter/SR/sr05-02.pdf
    http://www.dmi.dk/fileadmin/Rapporter/SR/sr05-02.pdf

    Here’s a new update:

    Solar Cycle Length & Sea Ice:

    • Fram Strait Ice Export (Schmith & Hansen 2003)
    • Western Nordic Seas Winter Sea Ice Extent (Macias-Fauria + 2009)

    Background:

    Here we integrate and synthesize a set of multicentury historical records of Atlantic Arctic sea ice, supplemented with high-resolution paleoproxy records […] We establish a signal of pervasive and persistent multidecadal (~60–90 year) fluctuations […]”

    Miles, M.W.; Divine, D.V.; Furevik, T.; Jansen, E.; Moros, M.; & Ogilvie, A.E.J. (2014). A signal of persistent Atlantic multidecadal variability in Arctic sea ice. Geophysical Research Letters 41, 463-469.
    http://folk.uib.no/ngftf/CV/PDF_Furevik/miles_et_al_grl_2014.pdf
    ftp://starfish.mar.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/pub/ocean/ingrid/Gary/Miles_grl51241.pdf (alternate link to same pdf)

    Martin Miles’ research group has done an extremely valuable job of gathering all of these records together. Please see their Table 1 & Figure 1.

    If/when time permits I have some animations to assemble and share.

  5. Salvatore Del Prete says: January 17, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    “Albedo is one of the MOST IMPORTANT factors in determining the climate of the earth. I want data on this climatic item as often as possible. Even if satellites can not measure it perfectly they can tell us the trend in albedo which is what matters. A 1% change in albedo has significant climatic impacts.
    “Data on albedo: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=84499

    Do you really accept such data from the 97% incompetent NASA?

    “A calculator to make calculations of earth’s temp. based on solar /albedo parameters . Quite good”
    http://www.geo.umass.edu/courses/climat/radbal.html

    Such is as incompetent as the self announced 97% incompetence among NASA and other ClimAstrologists.

    “Notice how much the global temp . changes when different albedo values are put into the calculator.”

    Notice how little the imaginary global temperature changes when albedo is decreased to 0.01 and the fictitious Greenhouse Effect is lowered to 0.135

    Notice how little much the imaginary global temperature changes when The 424 W/m^2-sr opposing radiance from only this imaginary albedo, now set to 0.01, but reducing the incoming solar radiant flux to
    943 W/m^2 as it must, according to both Maxwell and Planck. Of course we must increase the imaginary Greenhouse Effect to 0.403, Now that is scary, it’s worse than we thought!!!

    We can now play these sixth grade arithmetic games, forever, never learning even one thing.

    Salvatore, Please explain how the reflectivity of the Earth decreases the work done on this Earth by the measurable Solar inertial force, improperly called radiation pressure? We may need no GHE!!!
    Is that “work” force, or is it force times distance, 1 AU is a long distance? Was Kepler correct? Is the Earth’s’ orbit defined “solely” by Earth’s velocity and gravitational force?

  6. It (albedo aside) looks like this solar cycle length is going to be quite long. Let us see the effects.

  7. oldbrew says:

    SdP: ‘A 1% change in albedo has significant climatic impacts.’

    Or climate impacts can cause a 1% change in albedo😉

  8. Paul Vaughan says:

    They used solar cycle length (SCL):

    Reichel, R.; Thejll, P.; and Lassen, K. (2001). The cause-and-effect relationship of solar cycle length and the northern hemisphere air surface temperature. Journal of Geophysical Research 106, 15635-15461.
    http://thejll.com/Frascati/ReichelThejllLassenSCL.pdf

    It should be solar cycle deceleration (SCD).

    And it’s a regional aberration, not a global feature. (The alarmists were right about something!) Globally it’s the sunspot integral. SCD just defines the regional meridional aberrations due to north-south contrasting land-ocean geometry.

    The need for conceptual correction has been proven geometrically.
    Skeptics & alarmists were both right and both wrong about something on this file.

    Will everyone suddenly sober up and be sensible about this? Of course not. American left-right politics is far more important to people than truth on this file, so they’ll of course go on obfuscating accordingly in pursuit of “higher” interests.

    Something I’ve always wanted to ask people: What do you think albedo is accomplishing in the darkness of the polar night??

  9. Doug Proctor says:

    Gross (absolute) or change (anomaly)?

    Is the error/limit on accuracy/precision stable or variable?

    Gross value key in energy balance equations, change key in contribution of cloud variation in post 1965 warming, especially in post-1997.

    BTW, the most radical of skeptics see the “pause” starting in 1997. I see it as 2001, with the 1997 to 2001 period being reasonably part of the warming phase with short-term variability taken into account. What say you?

  10. Paul Vaughan says:

    Reminders:

    • SCD is still driving northern temperature up, not down. (You’ve see some BS predictions based on SCL predicting sharp downfalls that didn’t happen. They were ignorant of the fractional differintegral structure. People need to invest the effort needed to deeply understand firsthand the fundamental conceptual difference between SCL & SCD.)

    • We’ve also just begun the bidecadal upswing.

    The sunspot integral (global) can only drop gradually if solar activity stays low. Meanwhile 2 other key factors (regional) (SCD & bidecadal) are more than compensating in the opposite direction.

    Most skeptic commentary on the climate implications of low solar activity is (extremely) inconsistent with observations. Correction is strongly advised.

  11. Will have to see how this all plays out during this prolonged solar minimum period which has a long way to go.

    I have maintained that certain low value solar parameters do not only have to be met but in addition need to meet a sufficient duration of time requirement as well as follow a duration of time of sub-solar activity in general before there can be a climatic effect.

    I think summer time albedo for the given hemisphere is what matters

  12. oldbrew says:

    SdP: ‘I think summer time albedo for the given hemisphere is what matters’

    It doesn’t matter at night though? Which is 50% of the time.

  13. oldbrew says: January 17, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    “SdP: ‘I think summer time albedo for the given hemisphere is what matters’”

    “It doesn’t matter at night though? Which is 50% of the time.

    OB, Please demonstrate how and why any reflectance of Solar EM flux, “must decrease total work”, the force times distance of EMR. This reflected flux increases, the energy (WORK) delivered by Solar power, to the Earth and its atmosphere! We all are just starting to get over the self announced 97% incompetence of Climate Creeps! . 2015 may become interesting!

  14. Paul Vaughan says:

    It’s always funny when people think the next few years will tell all. All it will tell is that ENSO’s a yo-yo — the political master of climate puppets. What matters is the attractor (i.e. the central limit).

    ENSO confuses people so good that it’s pretty much a guarantee that almost everyone will remain ignorant of the solar attractor. Political activists don’t feel safe framing a narrative around an attractor because they know that on the ground in trench debate, framing will always be tightly hinged to whatever ENSO does.

    If/when it happens, a switch to solar cycle acceleration will be the next game-changer. That’s not noticeable on the timescale of ENSO. Several ENSO cycles will pass before people will stop arguing about what’s happening multidecadally, because political opponents will always aggressively project belief that it’s about to go the opposite way.

    ENSO yo-yo political activism is gong show comedy. If anyone is looking to cut the climate debate budget, get rid of the clowns who are constantly on the edge of their seats making bets on the supposed massive implications of ENSO’s every twitch. (sarc) La Nina — “It’s the sun!” El Nino — “It’s man!!” (/sarc) What’s the point?? Only political.

    The sensible commentary will focus on the central limit even when ENSO’s at it’s extremes. If someone’s beliefs about climate are shaken by every ENSO extreme, that’s informative (and those are some pretty flaky beliefs).

    Steady as she goes. Even keel. Steady hand on the rudder. Solar cycle acceleration will take several ENSO cycles to notice if/when it happens. It won’t be interesting to watch — unless you enjoy the thrill of watching cold molasses “running” at a snail’s pace.

  15. Paul Vaughan says: January 18, 2015 at 4:01 am Steady as she goes. Even keel. Steady hand on the rudder. Solar cycle acceleration will take several ENSO cycles to notice if/when it happens. It won’t be interesting to watch — unless you enjoy the thrill of watching cold molasses “running” at a snail’s pace.
    Paul, you are so lucky! I remain mired in “Beats the Shit out of me!

  16. oldbrew says:

    @ Will J – albedo is one of those things that can be invoked in support of any climate theory isn’t it? The theorist just announces what its role is in their particular view.

  17. Paul Vaughan says:

    I assume everyone here knows about:

    Peter Thejll’s Earthshine Blog:
    http://earthshine.thejll.com/#home

    hub:
    http://thejll.com/

  18. Paul Vaughan says:

    slight noise:signal problem (understatement…)

  19. OLD BREW- your argument about night versus albedo does not make sense. What matters is the change in albedo.

    One theory which I do subscribe to is cool N.H. summers promote Ice Ages because more snow/ice cover remain on the ground during the summer months which in turn results in a higher albedo thus colder temperatures.

    As far as making a climate prediction it seems like so many predictions are for years way off into the future which is just speculation.

    I am saying the next climatic change is right around the corner and this year 2015 will be the turning point if prolonged minimum solar conditions become established which I expect will be the case.

    I then expect the associated secondary effects and primary solar effects to exert an influence on the climate which will be an overall down trend for global temperatures in a jig saw pattern.

    My main secondary effects which I expect to kick are the following:

    Meridional atmospheric circulation– -AO/-NAO

    Increase in Cloud Cover/Snow Cover associated with a Meridional Atm. Circulation.

    Lower Ocean Heat Content.

    Volcanic Activity Increasing.

    Lower Sea Surface Temp. for the globe as a whole.

    Less El Ninos/More La Nina’s.

    My prediction unlike so many others is direct and will be easy to verify or can be easily falsified.

    That will be done by evaluating the average solar parameters going forward and evaluating the climatic response.

    For example if my low value solar parameters are approached or attained given my first requirement of sub- solar activity in general has been met(going on 10 years) and the duration kicks in and the global temperatures stay the same or increase then I am wrong.

    If the global temperature trend is down then I will very likely be correct.

    Very simple and straight forward.

  20. THE CRITERIA

    Solar Flux avg. sub 90

    Solar Wind avg. sub 350 km/sec

    AP index avg. sub 5.0

    Cosmic ray counts north of 6500 counts per minute

    Total Solar Irradiance off .015% or more

    EUV light average 0-105 nm sub 100 units (or off 100% or more) and longer UV light emissions around 300 nm off by several percent.

    IMF around 4.0 nt or lower.

  21. oldbrew says:

    SdP: ‘One theory which I do subscribe to is cool N.H. summers promote Ice Ages because more snow/ice cover remain on the ground during the summer months which in turn results in a higher albedo thus colder temperatures.’

    This doesn’t tell us much though? Ice ages were never due to warm weather.

    Surely the point is not the albedo itself but what is causing it to change. You are saying it causes itself to increase – this can’t make sense either.

  22. No I am saying the climate causes it to change. A colder climate resulting in more snow/ice cover which results in a higher albedo.

  23. This doesn’t tell us much though? Ice ages were never due to warm weather

    My reply is ice ages are due to less warm weather during the summer months in the high latitudes.

    Ice Ages certainly are not caused by colder winter temperatures in those places because it has no bearing on how much snow/ice cover there may be, rather what has a bearing is the extent/duration of the melt season and the number of days the temperature is below freezing not how far below freezing the temperature is.

  24. old brew how could you be confused? It is basic the more snow/ice that is on the ground the higher the albedo. You must know that.

  25. oldbrew says:

    SdP: start from the beginning, where does albedo come from in the first place? Albedo doesn’t cause itself.

  26. oldbrew says: January 18, 2015 at 10:01 am

    “@ Will J – albedo is one of those things that can be invoked in support of any climate theory isn’t it? The theorist just announces what its role is in their particular view.”

    OB, yes, it seems to be used only to convey the idea that the Earth “should” have a lower temperature than it does, hence “Global warming”! None seem to know what albedo might be.
    Is albedo the percentage insolation reflected (not absorbed), as claimed, or is the only that visible insolation reflected (scattered) into the hemisphere convex to the primary,as per the definition of albedo? What wavelengths are included? Is the insolation forward scattered into space in the direction of the other hemisphere, included or ignored? Why would anyone trust the numbers from NASA? These are the same folk that claim that the irradiance of the Sun is equal to Solar flux, and claim partial atmospheric radiance is some flux from the atmosphere! They have not ever measured radiative flux from the surface, and likely do not even know how to do that. They insist on having no knowledge of radiometric terms, and use all interchangeably to scare folk.

  27. oldbrew says:

    SdP: ‘No I am saying the climate causes it to change. A colder climate resulting in more snow/ice cover which results in a higher albedo.’

    Since (say) 1980 Arctic ice trended lower while Antarctic ice did the opposite. What does that say about the role of albedo?

  28. I can not believe the lack of understanding of what I am trying to convey with the term albedo. When I am talking about albedo it has nothing to do with my opinion about the relevance of a GHG effect or not.

    Old Brew ask the question where does albedo come from. Answer is ALBEDO is simply a metric used to determine the reflectivity of an object. The higher reflectivity (albedo) an object attains the lower will be the temperature of that object all other things being equal.

    My point has been if solar activity attains very low values I think the area of snow cover/ice cover will increase for the globe which in turn will increase the reflectivity(albedo) of the earth and help bring down the global temperature trend. That is all I am saying. Everybody seems to be reading much more into this then what I am trying to convey.

    If one believes the mean temperature of the earth would be colder if the earth were covered in ice/snow as opposed to vegetation (which is the case) then one will understand my point about albedo.

    If anyone does not subscribe to that you don’t know what you are talking about.

  29. Steven Mosher says:

    Even if satellites can not measure it perfectly they can tell us the trend in albedo which is what matters.

    Even if satellites can not measure it perfectly they can tell us the trend in temperature which is what matters.

    Even if thermometers can not measure it perfectly they can tell us the trend in temperature which is what matters.

  30. oldbrew says:

    SdP: ‘If one believes the mean temperature of the earth would be colder if the earth were covered in ice/snow ‘

    This is putting the cart before the horse. It has to be cold before there can be ice or snow.

    There’s a step missing when saying albedo ’causes’ this or that – something has to cause the albedo first.

  31. JWR says: 2015/01/20 at 1:49 AM
    (@Joe Postma “And why do Kiehl and Trenberth, and climate alarm, get into such a mess?”)

    “Because they use the two-stream-formulation, an unfortunate habitude from astronomy.
    Joe Postma makes the same error. Ferenc Miskolczi makes the same error.

    But both are aware to be careful with the interpretation. NASA gives K&T diagrams where they subtract the huge back-radiation from the atmospheric absorption.
    The two-stream-formulation gives huge back-radiation, huge atmospheric absorption, huge LW surface flux. It is inherent to the Schwarzschild procedure.”

    The Shuster Schwarzschild two stream approximation, is useful for a clue to the effective temperature of an unresolved star.with only a magnitude. It was the stupid Carl Sagan (1964) that as a Science Clown, announced that such can be applied to a planet with an atmosphere such as Venus. It has been scientifically very, very downhill ever since! Stupidity like entropy must always increase!

    “When the two-stream-formulation is used, it should be used correctly and not interpreting the upward component and the downward component as real radiations.
    In this blog the iron shield is mentioned several times, and analyzed with the two-stream formulation. For that reason I wrote a paper which I call the engineering proof that back-radiation cannot exist: http://www.tech-know-group.com/papers/Prevost_no_back-radiation-v2.pdf

    Very interesting! Please allow much pondering before I can nit-pick!
    Thank you for your important point of view! -will-

  32. Do you read what I write? I SAID if we have a prolonged minimum solar condition I think the climate will grow colder first ,due to an increase in snow/ice cover which in turn will CAUSE the earth to have a higher albedo which in turn will promote lower temperatures. It is called a positive feedback.

    lol