Articles | Volume 12, issue 4
Earth Syst. Dynam., 12, 1057–1060, 2021

Special issue: ESD Ideas

Earth Syst. Dynam., 12, 1057–1060, 2021
ESD Ideas
25 Oct 2021
ESD Ideas | 25 Oct 2021

ESD Ideas: A weak positive feedback between sea level and the planetary albedo

Ben Marzeion

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Cited articles

Amante, C. and Eakins, B. W.: ETOPO1: 1 Arc-Minute Global Relief Model: Procedures, Data Sources and Analysis, Tech. Rep., NESDIS NGDC-24, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [data set],, 2009. a, b, c
Barkstrom, B. R., Harrison, E. F., and Lee, R. B.: Earth radiation budget experiment, Eos, 71, 297–304,, 1990. a, b
Barron, E. J., Sloan II, J., and Harrison, C.: Potential significance of land–sea distribution and surface albedo variations as a climatic forcing factor; 180 my to the present, Palaeogeogr. Palaeocl., 30, 17–40,, 1980. a
Burrett, C. F.: Phanerozoic land–sea and albedo variations as climate controls, Nature, 296, 54–56,, 1982. a
DeConto, R. M. and Pollard, D.: Contribution of Antarctica to past and future sea-level rise, Nature, 531, 591–597,, 2016. a
Special issue
Short summary
The oceans are typically darker than land surfaces. Expanding oceans through sea-level rise may thus lead to a darker planet Earth, reflecting less sunlight. The additionally absorbed sunlight may heat planet Earth, leading to further sea-level rise. Here, we provide a rough estimate of the strength of this feedback: it turns out to be very weak, but clearly positive, thereby destabilizing the Earth system.
Final-revised paper