Radiative Heating Due to Increased CO2: The Role of H2O Continuum Absorption in the 12–18 μm Region

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  • 1 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307
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Abstract

In the 12–18 μm spectral region, the CO2 bands are overlapped by the H2O pure rotational band and the H2O continuum band. The 12–18 μm H2O continuum absorption is neglected in most studies concerned with the climatic effects of increased CO2. In this study, we examine the role of H2O–CO2 overlap in detail. Specifically, the effect of the water vapor continuum in the 12–18 μm region on the radiative heating due to increased CO2 is investigated. It is found that although the longwave surface radiative heating due to increased CO2 is considerably reduced at low latitudes by H2O continuum absorption, where water vapor partial pressures are high, the radiative heating of the surface/troposphere system as a whole is minimally altered.

Abstract

In the 12–18 μm spectral region, the CO2 bands are overlapped by the H2O pure rotational band and the H2O continuum band. The 12–18 μm H2O continuum absorption is neglected in most studies concerned with the climatic effects of increased CO2. In this study, we examine the role of H2O–CO2 overlap in detail. Specifically, the effect of the water vapor continuum in the 12–18 μm region on the radiative heating due to increased CO2 is investigated. It is found that although the longwave surface radiative heating due to increased CO2 is considerably reduced at low latitudes by H2O continuum absorption, where water vapor partial pressures are high, the radiative heating of the surface/troposphere system as a whole is minimally altered.

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