The Chemistry of Climate Change
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The Chemistry of Climate Change. The Science of Global Climate.

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The Science of Global Climate

“There's a lot of differing data, but as far as I can gather, over the last hundred years the temperature on this planet has gone up 1.8 degrees. Am I the only one who finds that amazingly stable? I could go back to my hotel room tonight and futz with the thermostat for three to four hours. I could not detect that difference.”

-Dennis Miller


Climate

Climate is characterized by the statistical properties of the weather over a period of time, including averages of local variables such as temperature, winds, humidity, pressure, and precipitation.


June 12, 2001

Warming Threat Requires Action Now, Scientists Say

By ANDREW C. REVKIN

In his speech on climate yesterday, President Bush said that a basic problem with the Kyoto Protocol, the proposed international pact for curtailing global warming, was that it laid out a timetable for cutting releases of heat-trapping gases before the threat posed by a buildup of those gases was clearly understood.

New York Times


Solar Radiation

q: zenith angle

top of atmosphere

h

q

L

Earth


Solar Radiation

m: ‘air mass’


Solar Radiation

t: attenuation coefficient

Light absorption by particles

Light scattering by gases

Light absorption by gases

Light scattering by particles


Solar Radiation

t: attenuation coefficient

Rayleigh Scattering


Solar Radiation

Scattering and Absorption by Particulate Matter

‘modeled’


Solar Radiation

Aerosol Extinction

Rayleigh

Scattering

Ozone

Absorption


100 Units Incident

Albedo

17

19

4

8

Clouds

Aerosols

6

46


Solar Radiation

Planck’s Relation

peak wavelength (nm)

Wein’s Law


Solar Radiation

5000 K

3000 K

1000 K

500 K

Flux: number of photons per second per square centimeter

300 K

100 K



Solar Radiation

Radiative Power from Sun

Incident on Earth


Solar Flux

solar flux

pr2


Solar Radiation

Global energy use by population ~ 1x1013 W

1 part in 10000

2% for U.S. Urban Areas


Solar Radiation

Earth Emission


Radiation Balance

balance

Fraction Absorbed


Radiation Balance

Actual is 290 K


Temperature at the Surface of Three planets: D=Tactual-Tcalculated

Calculated T/K Actual T/K D

Earth 254 290 +36

Mars 217 223 +6

Venus 227 732 +505



Greenhouse Gases

Species Absorption Region Estimated Global Warming

H2O 2.5, 3.5, 5-7 mm ~110 Wm-2

CO2 14-19 mm ~50 Wm-2

CH4 3-4, 7-8.5 mm ~1.7 Wm-2

O3 9-10 mm ~1.3 Wm-2


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