Definition of albedo in US English:



  • The proportion of the incident light or radiation that is reflected by a surface, typically that of a planet or moon.

    • ‘These aerosols are reflective and increase the albedo of the planet.’
    • ‘As more and more snow and ice accumulates year on year, so the reflectivity or albedo of the surface is increased, causing summer sunshine to have even less impact and accelerating the growth of ice sheets and glaciers.’
    • ‘Decades of photometry have been interpreted to derive maps of Pluto's surface reflectance, or albedo.’
    • ‘This relation largely depends on the albedo of the surface surrounding the receiver and on the solar elevation angle.’
    • ‘Taking characteristic values for the average albedo (the fraction of sunlight reflected), size limits could be calculated.’


Mid 19th century: ecclesiastical Latin, ‘whiteness’, from Latin albus ‘white’.