al·​be·​do al-ˈbē-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce albedo (audio)
plural albedos
: reflective power
specifically : the fraction of incident radiation (such as light) that is reflected by a surface or body (such as the moon or a cloud) compare reflectance
: the whitish, spongy inner part of the rind of a citrus fruit : the mesocarp of a hesperidium
The trouble with grapefruit is that however carefully you peel it, some of the white stuff always sticks to the fruit. The spongy white tissue, called albedo, is quite bitter, and it clings with the tenacity of lichen. Discover
compare flavedo

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Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web This model could be used to create meta data about a scene, such as room layout, surfaces, albedo, materials, objects and lighting estimation. Karl Freund, Forbes, 15 Aug. 2022 Another is the albedo effect of afforestation, which is little known outside of the scientific community but has huge implications for the climate. Erik Millar, Forbes, 25 July 2022 Long-term Arctic sea ice losses exacerbate global warming through the Arctic ice-albedo feedback cycle. Kate S. Petersen, USA TODAY, 30 May 2022 In summer, owing to the albedo effect—light surfaces reflect heat, dark ones absorb it—the pale grass would stay cooler than the brown shrubs that currently blanket the tundra. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, 10 Jan. 2022 Measured from the Big Bear Solar Observatory in California between 1998 and 2017, the researchers monitored the precise daily, monthly, seasonal, yearly and decadal changes in Earth’s albedo using earthshine. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 6 Dec. 2021 The researchers found no correlation, which means that changes in Earth’s albedo is caused by something on the Earth. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 6 Dec. 2021 According to this research, clouds have a high albedo—similar to snow and ice—but have been largely discounted in many studies examining natural mitigation of climate change. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Aug. 2021 Anthropogenic warming causes snow and ice caps to melt, which can make Earth’s albedo decrease. Maddie Bender, Scientific American, 18 June 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'albedo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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Word History


borrowed from Late Latin albēdin-, albēdō "whiteness, white color," from Latin albus "light-colored, white" + -ēdin-, -ēdō, suffix of abstract nouns; (sense 1) after German Albedo in this sense, borrowed from Latin — more at alb, torpedo

First Known Use

1860, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of albedo was in 1860

Dictionary Entries Near albedo

Cite this Entry

“Albedo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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Medical Definition



al·​be·​do al-ˈbēd-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce albedo (audio)
plural albedos
: the fraction of incident light or electromagnetic radiation that is reflected by a surface or body (as the moon or the skin)

More from Merriam-Webster on albedo

Last Updated: 10 Sep 2022

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