Chapter03a - Seasons • • • • • • Mid-chapter...

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Seasons
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Mid-chapter review The Earth absorbs solar radiation only during the daylight hours; however, it emits infrared radiation continuously, both during the day and at night. The Earth’s surface behaves (almost) as a blackbody, making it a much better absorber and emitter of radiation than the atmosphere. Water vapor and carbon dioxide are important atmospheric greenhouse gases that selectively absorb and emit infrared radiation, thereby keeping the Earth’s average surface temperature warmer than it otherwise would be. Cloudy, calm nights are often warmer than clear, calm nights because clouds strongly emit infrared radiation back to the Earth’s surface. It is not the greenhouse effect itself that is of concern, but the enhancement of it due to increasing levels of greenhouse gases. As greenhouse gases continue to increase in concentration, the average surface air temperature is projected to rise substantially by the end of this century.
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RECAP The Sun is the ultimate energy source for our atmosphere The peak of the solar emission is in the visible wavelengths As the solar light travels through the atmosphere it is Reflected (albedo) by clouds and particles Absorbed by air molecules and clouds Scattered by molecules and particles Transmitted to the surface of the Earth The latter two portions heat the Earth’s surface, which, in turn, warms the air above The maximum of the Earth emission
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2008 for the course MET 1010 taught by Professor Matchev during the Spring '08 term at University of Florida.

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Chapter03a - Seasons • • • • • • Mid-chapter...

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