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Satellite Observations of Radiation and Clouds to Diagnose Energy Exchanges in the Climate: Part I

  • William B. Rossow
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 5)

Abstract

The basic energy cycle that establishes the climate of our planet is more complicated than a simple balance between the solar radiation (wavelengths from 0.4 – 4 μm) absorbed by Earth and the terrestrial radiation (wavelengths from 4 – 100 μm) emitted when the temperature of Earth reaches equilibrium. The first complication is that the spherical shape of Earth leads to an equator-to-pole difference in solar heating; the resulting temperature contrast forces motions in the atmosphere and ocean that transport some of the energy from low to high latitudes. Thus, the radiation balance at the top of the atmosphere exhibits a net heating (absorbed solar flux exceeds emitted terrestrial flux) at low latitudes and a net cooling (emitted terrestrial flux exceeds absorbed solar flux) at high latitudes which is balanced by the dynamic transports. However, the global average radiation is essentially in balance when averaged over a whole year. Thus, the solar and terrestrial radiative fluxes are the drivers for all of the phenomena we call climate.

Keywords

Optical Thickness Cloud Amount Solar Flux International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project Cloud Property 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • William B. Rossow
    • 1
  1. 1.Goddard Institute for Space StudiesNASANew YorkUSA

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