Albedo is a measure of how much something reflects light from the sun. This is often measured as a percentage.
Lighter-coloured things (such as clouds, snow and ice) have a higher albedo than dark things, and so tend to reflect a larger amount of light (and heat) from the sun. If a snow-covered area warms and the snow melts, the albedo decreases, more sunlight is absorbed, and the temperature absorbed increases.
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- IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Working Group 1 report The Physical Science Basis , Chapter 2.5