Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Radiative Transfer in the Atmosphere and Ocean



The Earth's climate reflects the balance between the sunlight absorbed by the Earth atmosphere system and the infrared radiation that the Earth emits to space. Change the composition of the atmosphere and the deposition of absorbed sunlight and the emission of infrared radiation by the atmosphere and surface are altered, upsetting existing balances, forcing temperatures to respond and the climate to change.

Understanding the transfer of radiation in the atmosphere is the key to anticipating the changes. In addition, with the recent launch of Terra, the first flagship of NASA's Earth Observing System, observations of reflected sunlight and emitted infrared and microwave radiation are being used increasingly to probe atmospheric and surface processes as well as to monitor the various components and thermodynamic states of the climate system. There is clearly a need for textbooks that introduce newcomers to radiative transfer, given its central role in climate and remote sensing. The landmark references by S. Chandrasekhar [1950] and R.M. Goody [1964] served as introductions to radiative transfer for many of today's practitioners, but they were not meant to be textbooks and have proven unwieldy when pressed into that role. This new book should fulfill this need.