Author: Mary Knapp

As you grab your sunglasses to deal with the light reflecting off the snow and ice, you might like to know how this phenomenon is name scientifically. The term is Albedo and is used to describe the amount of visible light reflected by a surface as a percentage of the total visible light that is cast on the surface. The higher the number, the greater the amount of light being reflected. Not surprisingly this can vary enormously, depending on the conditions and individual surfaces. Some approximate albedo values: wet sand 9 percent; green forest 3-10 percent; bare ground 10-20 percent; fresh snow 85-90 percent. That final number is enough to make anyone reach for their shades.

Albedo (The National Snow and Ice Data Center)

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library