Weather Whys: Why is it so bright at night after a snow event?

Weather Whys: Why is it so bright at night after a snow event?

Have you ever noticed how light it seems to be after a snow storm? Even at night? Carol asked that question for today's Weather Whys and we have a complicated answer.

The simple answer is that fresh snow has a higher reflective property than your normal grass, trees, houses, roads, etc. so it makes its surroundings brighter.

The complicated answer has to do with something called albedo which is defined as the, "proportion of light reflected by a surface." Albedo is measured on a scale form 0 to 1 with 0 meaning black and completely absorbed and 1 meaning completely reflected. Some common items and their albedo include fresh asphalt at 0.04, grass at 0.25 and concrete at 0.55. Fresh snow has a very high albedo at 0.80 meaning the majority of its light is reflected making its surroundings brighter. 

Weather Whys is a segment by Meteorologist Justin Thompson-Gee that airs during the CBS 58 News on WMLW - The M from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. The segment answers viewer weather questions, explains weather phenomena and reveals interesting weather stats. To submit your question reach out to Justin on Facebook, Twitter or by emailing him at [email protected].

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