Albedo (1 month)

Albedo (1 month) | NASA

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About this dataset

When sunlight reaches the Earth’s surface, some of it is absorbed and some is reflected. The relative amount (ratio) of light that a surface reflects compared to the total sunlight that falls on it is called albedo. Surfaces that reflect a lot of the light falling on them are bright, and they have a high albedo. Surfaces that don’t reflect much light are dark, and they have a low albedo. Snow has a high a albedo, and forests have a low albedo.

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June 2024

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1.0 degrees 360 x 180 download
0.5 degrees 720 x 360 download
0.25 degrees 1440 x 720 download
0.1 degrees 3600 x 1800 download
CSV for Excel older than 2007 download

What do the colors mean?

These maps show albedo on a scale from 0 (no incoming sunlight being reflected) to 0.9 (nearly all incoming light being reflected). Darker blue colors indicate that the surface is not reflecting much light, while paler blues indicate higher proportions of incoming light are being reflected. Black areas indicate “no data,” either over ocean or because persistent cloudiness prevented enough views of the surface. Our planet’s brightest surfaces (highest albedos) are ice caps, glaciers, and snow-covered ground. Deserts also have high albedos. Forests have low albedos, especially boreal forests during summer months.

Get Data

1. Visit LP DAAC

2. Select Access Data

3. Choose one of the data access tools listed and search for the dataset name (MCD43C3)

Related Websites




MODIS Land Science Team

Earthdata MODIS

Further Reading

Research Satellites for Atmospheric Sciences, 1978 to Present

Global Albedo

Terra Turns Five

Winter in Southern Greenland

Ship Tracks Off The Kamchatka Peninsula

Signs of Ships in the Clouds

ATBD (Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document)

MODIS BRDF/Albedo Algorithm


Imagery produced by the NASA Earth Observations team using data provided by the MODIS Land Science Team.

Federal Geographic Data Committee Geospatial Metadata

View the FGDC Metatdata for Albedo (1 month)

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