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Terrestrial radiation

Electromagnetic radiation emitted from the Earth and its atmosphere. Terrestrial radiation, also called thermal infrared radiation or outgoing longwave radiation, is determined by the temperature and composition of the Earth's atmosphere and surface. The temperature structure of the Earth and the atmosphere is a result of numerous physical, chemical, and dynamic processes. In a one-dimensional cont, the temperature structure is determined by the balance between radiative and convective processes.

The Earth's surface emits electromagnetic radiation according to the laws that govern a blackbody or a graybody. A blackbody absorbs the maximum radiation and at the same time emits that same amount of radiation so that thermodynamic equilibrium is achieved as to define a uniform temperature. A graybody is characterized by incomplete absorption and emission and is said to have emissivity less than unity. The thermal infrared emissivities from water and land surfaces are normally between 90 and 95%. It is usually assumed that the Earth's surfaces are approximately black in the analysis of infrared radiative transfer. Exceptions include snow and some sand surfaces whose emissivities are wavelength-dependent and could be less than 90%. Absorption and emission of radiation by atmospheric molecules are more complex and require a fundamental understanding of quantum mechanics. Atmosphere Heat balance, terrestrial atmospheric

The radiant energy emitted from a number of temperatures covering the Earth and the atmosphere is measured as a function of wavenumber and wavelength. This energy is called Planck intensity (or radiance), and the units that are commonly used are denoted as watt per square meter per solid angle per wavenumber (W/m2 · sr ċ cm−1). Terrestrial radiation originating from the Earth-atmosphere-ocean system, as well as solar radiation reflected and scattered back to space, is measured on a daily basis by meteorological satellites. Instruments on meteorological satellites measure visible, ultraviolet, infrared, and microwave radiation.

Each spectral region provides meteorologists and other Earth system scientists with information about atmospheric ozone, water vapor, temperature, aerosols, clouds, precipitation, lightning, and many other parameters. Measuring atmospheric radiation allows the detection of sea and land temperature, snow and ice cover, and winds at the surface of the ocean. By tracking the movement of clouds and other atmospheric features, such as aerosols and water vapor, it is possible to obtain estimates of winds above the surface. Satellite meteorology

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From McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Environmental Science. The Content is a copyrighted work of McGraw-Hill and McGraw-Hill reserves all rights in and to the Content. The Work is © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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