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Atmospheric Processes

Atmospheric Processes - RS 301 Professor Wolf Cal Poly...

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RS 301 Professor Wolf Cal Poly Pomona Fall 2009 Lecture Notes on Atmospheric Processes Earth’s Energy Balance, the Greenhouse Effect, and the Kyoto Protocol Earth's Annual Global Mean Energy Budget http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/abstracts/files/kevin1997_1.html The Carbon Cycle Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapor Combustion of Fossil Fuels, Manufacture of Cement Deforestation, changes in land use Carbon Photosynthesis Respiration Storage Formation of Shells New Plant Growth Carbon Sequestration, changes in land use Organic Matter + Oxygen Ocean Storage Greenhouse effect • Average solar irradiance on Earth’s surface is 342 W/m2. For a “naked” Earth, Earth must be hot enough to radiate that same amount of energy~ –4ºC What we noticed from looking at the light bulb: * As an object gets hotter it gets brighter (that is, it radiates more energy), and * As an object gets hotter, the “dominant color of light it radiates moves up the spectrum toward the violet – Cooler objects (such as our bodies, Earth) also radiate light it is INFRARED light, at the lower end of the spectrum. Scattering of light o gas molecule in the atmosphere can:
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+ be transparent to light coming in (so the light goes straight through) + absorb light and then re-emit the light in a random direction * Glass transmits visible light but scatters infrared light Scattered Light Incoming light Gas Molecule No greenhouse effect light come in 2) Ground absorbs the light, warms up, emits two rays of infrared light 3) Eventually the ground reaches an equilibrium temperature Greenhouse effect with glass Suppose that glass transmits all of the 2) Ground absorbs the visible light, emits two rays of infrared light Greenhouse effect with glass 2) Ground is warm enough to radiate four rays of infrared light How this all applies to the earth o Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actsjust like the glass + transmits visible light + Absorbs, then scatters infrared light, someof which is radiated back to Earth’s surface * The more carbon dioxide (or other“greenhouse gases”) that there is in theair, the more infrared light gets re-emitted to the earth’s surface, and the warmer the earth will get. Earth with Atmosphere * Atmosphere reflects some solar radiation back to space * Atmosphere absorbs much of the radiated heat (infrared light) and reradiates it out to space and down to Earth, so Earth’s surface temperaature equilibrates at a higher temperature (average ~18ºC) http://www.metoffice.com/research/hadleycentre/CR_data/Annual/HadCRUG.gif Atmospheric concentration of CO2 measured at Mauna Loa http://www-das.uwyo.edu/~geerts/cwx/notes/chap01/keeling1.gif
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Law Dome is near the Australian Antarctic station Casey. The layers of the core were dated by counting
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