Breakdown: Why it’s brighter at night after it snows

Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 5:41 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -When snow is on the ground, it will look much brighter outside. This has to do with how light scatters.

The color white is highly reflective, so light scatters in all directions and more of that light reaches your eyes. This is why it even looks bright at night when it snows.

When we have snow on the ground, the snow is reflecting more light to the sky and off the clouds. The light then rebounds back to the surface and makes everything appear lighter. The light is essentially getting trapped in the atmosphere when snow is falling or on the ground.

In a study in the Journal of Imaging, researchers found that fresh snow could increase the amount of light by 33% on a clear night and almost 200% on a cloudy night

When there is no snow on the ground, the surfaces like streets and grass appear dark and not as reflective. When we have a clear sky, the street lights have nothing to reflect off.

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