Greenhouse effect and altitude gradients over the Alps – by surface longwave radiation measurements and model calculated LOR

Summary

The greenhouse effect has been investigated predominantly with satellite measurements, but more than 90% of the greenhouse radiative flux affecting Earth’s surface temperature and humidity originates from a 1000 meter layer above the surface. Here we show that substantial improvements on surface longwave radiation measurements and very good agreement with radiative transfer model calculations allow the clear-sky greenhouse effect be determined with measured surface longwave radiation and calculated longwave outgoing radiation at the top of the atmosphere. The cloud radiative forcing is determined by measured net longwave fluxes and added to the clear-sky greenhouse effect to determine the all-sky greenhouse effect. Longwave radiation measurements at different altitudes were used to determine the clear-sky and all-sky annual and seasonal greenhouse effect and altitude gradients over the Alps. Linear altitude gradients are measured for clear-sky situations, whereas the all-sky greenhouse effect is strongly influenced by varying, cloud amounts at different altitudes. Large diurnal and seasonal variations show the importance of surface heating and cooling effects and demonstrate the strong coupling of the greenhouse effect to surface temperature and humidity.

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Philipona, R., Dürr, B. & Marty, C. Greenhouse effect and altitude gradients over the Alps – by surface longwave radiation measurements and model calculated LOR . Theor Appl Climatol 77, 1–7 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-004-0038-7

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Keywords

  • Radiative Transfer
  • Longwave Outgoing Radiation
  • Longwave Radiation
  • Greenhouse Effect
  • Satellite Measurement