Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Natural History on the Big Screen – Feedback Loops: Albedo

Archived Webinar

This Zoom webinar aired June 9, 2021, as part of the four-part virtual series, "Natural History on the Big Screen: Feedback Loops," which took place monthly from May to August, 2021. Watch a recording in the player above.


Watch a discussion of the short film, "Feedback Loops: Albedo," with Joellen Russell (Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Chair of Integrative Science and Professor at the University of Arizona in the Department of Geosciences); Sarah Zhou Rosengard (Assistant Professor of Environmental Chemistry, School of the Art Institute of Chicago) and Marika Holland (Senior Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research).

Moderator: Juliana Olsson, Exhibit Writer and Editor, Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

This program was also part of the National Museum of Natural History’s celebration of World Ocean Day focusing on Hope Spots, places that are critical to the health of our ocean around the globe.

About the Film

The reflectivity of snow and ice at the poles, known as the albedo effect, is one of Earth’s most important cooling mechanisms. But global warming has reduced this reflectivity drastically, setting off a dangerous warming loop: As more Arctic ice and snow melt, the albedo effect decreases, further warming the Arctic and melting more ice and snow. The volume of Arctic ice has already shrunk 75 percent In the past 40 years, and scientists predict the Arctic Ocean will be completely ice-free during the summer months by the end of the century.

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Resource Type
Videos and Webcasts
Earth Science