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Can anyone tell me what is the difference between Albedo and surface reflectance? I know for sure that they are not the same. Any links / comments are most welcome.

Thanks GBh

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"Albedo is defined as the fraction of incident radiation that is reflected by a surface. While reflectance is defined as this same fraction for a single incidence angle, albedo is the directional integration of reflectance over all sun-view geometries." -- Retrieval of surface albedo from space. – whuber Oct 15 '12 at 15:27
@whuber, that actually sounds a lot like diffuse (multiple/all angles of reflection) vs. specular (1 angle of reflection). – blah238 Oct 15 '12 at 18:11
@GBh, what does "Surface Reflectance" mean to you in this context (providing such context will help potential answerers provide better answers). – blah238 Oct 15 '12 at 18:12
Everyone thanks for the reply. @blah238 -I think surface reflectance and reflectance are probably the same Albedo is different from reflectance , I somewhat agree with whuber. Please let me know If we can further clarify between reflectance and albedo Regards, GBh – user11997 Oct 15 '12 at 21:14
There is a good link from OSU here:… – Aaron Oct 15 '12 at 22:16

Albedo is a measure of the diffuse reflectivity of a surface, as opposed to specular reflectivity such as that of glass or water.

Diffuse vs Specular reflection

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I cannot find any reference that equates specular reflection with "surface reflectance." Could you quote an authoritative source for your answer? – whuber Oct 15 '12 at 15:27
I avoided making that equation because I don't know what "surface reflectance" is. AFAIK the statement is factual based on the Wikipedia links given, but a better answer would probably say something specifically about "surface reflectance" and what it means to the OP. – blah238 Oct 15 '12 at 16:17
Please, then, consider posting a comment to the question asking for what the meaning of "surface reflectance" is in this context. That preliminary back-and-forth helps assure that the answers that get posted are actually relevant to the questions. :-) – whuber Oct 15 '12 at 16:19

Albedo is the percentage of solar energy striking a surface that is reflected away from the earth.

Surface Reflectance is ratio of the amount light not absorbed by a surface to the amount of light striking the surface.

Albedo is a measure of energy and Surface Reflectance is a property of a material.

Solar radiation times the percentage that gets through the atmosphere and strikes the surface times the Surface Reflectance ratio equals Albedo.

A perfect mirror at night produces zero Albedo.

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