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John L. Gergen

Abstract

This paper presents some of the conclusions from the results of about 300 Black Ball flights in which the total atmospheric infrared radiation is measured in terms of an equivalent radiation temperature. The data presented include typical measurements and a seasonal analysis of the radiation at various pressures. The measurements indicate that the net loss of energy to space by infrared radiation is considerably less than calculations have indicated and cast doubt on some of the assumptions implicit in those calculations.

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John L. Gergen

Abstract

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John L. Gergen

Abstract

Synoptic black ball radiation measurements made during the nights of 26–30 May 1959 have shown that the rate of infrared radiation to space by the earth and its atmosphere varies enormously with distance and time. The variation is due almost exclusively to high clouds and appears to be associated with changes in the energies stored in the atmosphere. It is shown that the variability in the infrared radiation to space is comparable in magnitude to the variability in the kinetic and potential energies of the atmosphere, calculated on a per unit area basis. This must be of significance in formulating the equations of motion for the atmosphere, particularly since the radiation extremes appear to be positionally correlated with energy extremes.

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John L. Gergen

Abstract

This paper presents comparisons of experimentally determined radiation temperatures using the black ball, with such temperatures calculated using the Elsasser radiation chart. The comparisons show that, in general, the calculated temperatures are always warmer than those observed, indicating that the earth and its atmosphere radiate less energy away to space than would be calculated. The agreement between observation and calculation appears to be best in summer, when the water-vapor path length is greater at all altitudes, and worst in winter. A description of the approximations which enter into the calculations and a detailed investigation of the validity of these assumptions, obtained by noting experimental results, are also presented. The conclusions are that some of the approximations are experimentally verified only in part and that two of them, the separation of CO2, ozone, and water vapor radiative effects, and the use of a pressure scaling factor on path lengths, are clearly invalidated.

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