Climate Research


A Simple Method to Determine Surface Albedo Using Digital Photography

Authors: Glen Gilchrist

Surface albedo is an important concept, useful in explaining how closed systems (such as the Earth - Atmosphere) respond to incident radiant energy. Specialist, calibrated equipment is used by geo-scientists to measure ambient and reflected radiation from subject sources � this is often cost prohibitive within a teaching environment. A �semi� calibrated method is presented, utilising simple digital photography of both reference and subject sample. Using the �levels� function built into freely available image editing software, a simple algorithm is presented that allows a relative reflectance of the sample image to be calculated. Processing this with relation to a calibrated image allows for the simple determination of surface albedo. Using this method, albedo levels within 3% of a calibrated meter are obtained.

Comments: 6 pages

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Submission history

[v1] 9 Oct 2011

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