The Radiative Effect of Aerosols in the Earth's Atmosphere

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  • a Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NASA, New York, N. Y. 10025
  • | b Mechanical Engineering Department, Columbia University, New York, N. Y.
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Abstract

A modified two-flux approximation is employed to compute the transfer of radiation in a finite, inhomogeneous, turbid atmosphere. A perturbation technique is developed to allow the treatment of non-gray gaseous absorption with multiple scattering. The perturbation method, which employs a backscatter factor as a parameter, can be used with anisotropic particle scattering as well as Rayleigh scattering.

This method is used to study the effect of aerosols on radiative solar heating and infrared cooling as well as the radiative-convective temperature distribution in the earth's atmosphere. It is found that the effect of aerosols in the infrared cannot be neglected; while in the visible, the effect can be the same order as that due to absorption by water vapor. For a high surface albedo (>0.30) heating of the earth-atmosphere system results due to the presence of aerosols. The aerosols also reduce the amount of convection needed to maintain a stable atmosphere. For the case of a dense haze a temperature inversion is found to exist close to the ground.

Abstract

A modified two-flux approximation is employed to compute the transfer of radiation in a finite, inhomogeneous, turbid atmosphere. A perturbation technique is developed to allow the treatment of non-gray gaseous absorption with multiple scattering. The perturbation method, which employs a backscatter factor as a parameter, can be used with anisotropic particle scattering as well as Rayleigh scattering.

This method is used to study the effect of aerosols on radiative solar heating and infrared cooling as well as the radiative-convective temperature distribution in the earth's atmosphere. It is found that the effect of aerosols in the infrared cannot be neglected; while in the visible, the effect can be the same order as that due to absorption by water vapor. For a high surface albedo (>0.30) heating of the earth-atmosphere system results due to the presence of aerosols. The aerosols also reduce the amount of convection needed to maintain a stable atmosphere. For the case of a dense haze a temperature inversion is found to exist close to the ground.

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