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30 January 2002 Far-infrared: a frontier in remote sensing of Earth's climate and energy balance
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The radiative balance of the troposphere, and hence climate, is influenced strongly by radiative cooling associated with emission of infrared radiation by water vapor, particularly at far-infrared (far-IR) wavelengths greater than 15 micrometers and extending out beyond 50micrometers . Water vapor absorption and emission is principally due to the pure rotation band, which includes both line and continuum absorption. The distribution of water vapor and associated far-IR radiative forcings and feedbacks are well-recognized as major uncertainties in understanding and predicting future climate. Up to half of the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) from the Earth occurs beyond 15.4 micrometers (650 cm-1_ depending on atmospheric and surface conditions. Cirrus clouds also modulate the outgoing longwave radiation in the far-IR. However, despite this fundamental importance, far-IR emission (spectra of band- integrated) has rarely been directly measured from space, airborne, or ground-based platforms. Current and planned operational and research satellites typically observe the mid-infrared only to about 15.4 micrometers . In this talk we will review the role of the far-IR radiation in climate and will discuss the scientific and technical requirements for far-IR measurements of the Earth's atmosphere.
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Martin G. Mlynczak, John E. Harries, Rolando Rizzi, Paul W. Stackhouse, David P. Kratz, David Geoffrey Johnson, Christopher J. Mertens, Rolando R. Garcia, and Brian J. Soden "Far-infrared: a frontier in remote sensing of Earth's climate and energy balance", Proc. SPIE 4485, Optical Spectroscopic Techniques, Remote Sensing, and Instrumentation for Atmospheric and Space Research IV, (30 January 2002);

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