1st Edition

Physics of Radiation and Climate

By Michael A. Box, Gail P. Box Copyright 2016
    514 Pages 97 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    514 Pages
    by CRC Press

    Our current climate is strongly influenced by atmospheric composition, and changes in this composition are leading to climate change. Physics of Radiation and Climate takes a look at how the outward flow of longwave or terrestrial radiation is affected by the complexities of the atmosphere’s molecular spectroscopy. This book examines the planet in its current state and considers the radiation fluxes, including multiple scattering, photochemistry, and the ozone layer, and their impact on our climate overall.

    Starting from the physical fundamentals of how electromagnetic radiation interacts with the various components of the Earth’s atmosphere, the book covers the essential radiation physics leading to the radiative transfer equation. The book then develops the central physics of the interaction between electromagnetic radiation and gases and particles: absorption, emission, and scattering. It examines the physics that describes the absorption and emission of radiation, using quantum mechanics, and scattering, using electromagnetism. It also dedicates a detailed chapter to aerosols, now recognized as a key factor of climate change. Written to be used for a first course in climate physics or a physics elective, the text contains case studies, sample problems, and an extensive reference list as a guide for further research.

    In addition, the authors:

    • Provide a complete derivation of molecular spectroscopy from quantum mechanical first principles
    • Present a formal derivation of the scattering of radiation by molecules and particles
    • Include the latest results from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5)

    Physics of Radiation and Climate shows how radiation measurements are used to aid our understanding of weather and climate change and provides an introduction to the atmosphere. This book covers the key branches of physics with a specific focus on thermodynamics, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics.

    Our Planet and Its Physical Environment
    Atmospheric Energy Fluxes
    Weather and Climate
    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
    Climate System
    Path Ahead

    Atmospheric Thermodynamics
    Thermal Properties of Gases
    Hydrostatic Equilibrium
    Dry Thermodynamics
    Water Vapor in the Atmosphere
    Second Law of Thermodynamics
    Thermodynamic Diagrams

    Cloud Physics
    Atmospheric Stability
    Cloud Formation and Classification
    Cloud Droplet Formation
    Cloud Droplet Growth
    Atmospheric Electricity

    Atmospheric Chemistry
    Composition and Chemistry of Atmosphere
    Atmospheric Pollution
    Ocean Chemistry
    Stable and Unstable Isotopes
    Biogeochemical Cycles
    Monitoring and Modeling
    Lessons from the History of Our Atmosphere


    Aerosols: Types and Classification
    Aerosols in the Atmosphere
    Aerosol Effects
    Investigating Aerosols

    Circulation of Atmosphere and Oceans
    Forces on Fluids
    Atmospheric Energy Distribution
    Atmospheric Circulation
    Ocean Circulation
    El Niño Southern Oscillation
    Other Modes of Variability

    Fluid Dynamics
    Fluid Kinematics
    Fluid Mechanics
    Prognostic Equations
    Boundary Layer
    Ocean Fluid Mechanics

    Radiative Interactions
    Thermal Radiation
    Radiation and Matter
    Radiative Transfer

    Absorption and Emission of Radiation
    Electromagnetic Radiation
    Classical Absorption and Emission
    Quantum Mechanical Transition Probabilities
    Molecular Structure
    Molecular Spectroscopy
    Infrared Spectroscopy of Atmospheric Gases

    Scattering of Radiation
    Scattering Formalism
    Small Particle Scattering
    Mie Scattering
    Scattering by Nonspherical Scatterers
    Optical Properties of Aerosols and Clouds
    Properties of the Dielectric Constant

    Multiple Scattering
    Fourier Decomposition
    Limiting Cases
    Two-Stream Methods
    Discrete Ordinates Method
    Principles of Invariance
    Selection of Other Methods
    Radiative Perturbation Theory

    Solar Radiation and Its Atmospheric Interactions
    Solar Radiation and Its Variations
    Absorption of Solar Radiation
    Ozone Layer
    Ozone Hole
    Scattering of Solar Radiation

    Thermal Radiation Transfer
    Grey Atmosphere Models
    Band Models
    k-Distribution Method
    Broadband Approaches
    Radiative–Convective Modeling
    Radiative Model
    Convective Adjustment

    Remote Sensing
    Passive Sensing via Extinction
    Passive Sensing via Scattering
    Passive Sensing via Emission
    Active Remote Sensing
    Meteorological Data Acquisition
    Environmental Remote Sensing: Selected Historical Missions
    Environmental Remote Sensing: Current Missions

    Inversion Methods for Indirect Measurements
    Linear Systems
    Matrix Algebra: A Review
    Linear Inversion Problems
    Singular Function Theory
    Information Content
    Retrieving Temperature Profiles
    Model Fitting
    Component Retrieval Using Perturbation Theory

    Disequilibria in the Climate System
    Greenhouse Effect Revisited
    Recent Changes in Greenhouse Gas Concentrations
    Radiative Forcing by Gaseous Absorption
    Direct Radiative Forcing by Aerosols

    Aerosol Effects on Clouds
    Other Forcings
    Summary of Forcings
    Sensitivity and Response

    Climate Modeling
    Energy Balance Climate Models

    Ocean Box Models

    General Circulation Models

    Climate Models

    Twentieth Century Climate

    Climate Projection



    Supplementary Topics

    Studies of Past Climates


    Nuclear Winter

    Planetary Cousins

    Environmental Trade-Offs



    Michael A. Box earned his undergraduate degree in physics at Monash University in 1969, before moving to the University of Sydney to complete a Ph.D in nuclear physics. He has worked in the field of atmospheric physics for more than 35 years, and is well known for his contributions in radiative transfer, atmospheric aerosols, and remote sensing inversion theory. Michael Box is a Fellow of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (AMOS) and a member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). He has also served two terms as an associate editor of the Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer .Gail P. Box completed both her B.Sc and Ph.D in physics at Newcastle University. Her research has covered many aspects of aerosols, including air quality and radiative forcing. She established the Australian Aerosol Workshop, now expanded as the Australian and New Zealand Aerosol Assembly, to bring together workers in this field. Gail Box is also a member of AMOS, AGU, and the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand.

    "Box and Box take the reader on a journey, a progression through interwoven topics that build on those that precede them. And regarding the range of styles exhibited in other texts, Physics of Radiation and Climate strikes a nice balance between physical insight and mathematical formalism…. The breadth of topics is astounding…. the Boxes have achieved their stated goal: they have managed to make radiation the focus of a climate-centric text directed to the senior undergraduate or entry-level graduate student."
    American Journal of Physics (review by Prof Peter Pilewskie, University of Colorado at Boulder), Jul 2016

    "This is an outstanding textbook striking a perfect balance between physics, chemistry, modeling, and observation of the global climate. The choice and organization of topics are excellent. The book is extremely well written; contains a wealth of valuable material, especially on atmospheric radiation and remote sensing; and will serve as an excellent introductory text for senior undergraduate students. The informal narrative style makes the book a pleasure to read."
    —Michael I. Mishchenko, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

    "The authors are eminently qualified to provide a clear, in-depth discussion of the physical basis for how the climate system works and why global climate is changing. This is a very readable yet thorough textbook covering the key climate system processes and issues ranging from environmental implications to the underlying physics."
    —Andrew Lacis, NASA Climatologist, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York

    "… a valuable pedagogical addition to atmospheric and climate physics … The authors apply their vast experiences as researchers and teachers to explain the physical basis of our climate system with a fresh and current perspective. I’m looking forward to using their text in my own courses."
    —Roger Davies, Buckley-Glavish Professor of Climate Physics, The University of Auckland

    "… an outstanding source of information in the field of atmospheric science. Although written in a very concise manner, the book not only provides all the important relations in the fields of physics and chemistry of our Earth’s atmosphere but also outlines how to derive them. I highly recommend it as a treasure of knowledge for an associated lecture course and as a fundamental source for advanced undergraduate and graduate students."
    —Thomas Trautmann, Head of Atmospheric Processors Department, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR)

    "… an excellent textbook that introduces the reader to Earth’s climatic system and provides a thorough grounding in the science underlying issues of climate change. The clear physics emphasis sets this book apart from other introductory texts on meteorology and atmospheric science. The combination of basic physics and policy aspects will equip the reader to make informed contributions to the topical debate on climate change and its mitigation …"
    —David Leadley, Professor, Department of Physics, University of Warwick

    "I think this is an excellent book for undergraduate and beginning graduate students."
    —Donald J. Wuebbles, The Harry E. Preble Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois

    "Students will greatly benefit from learning the physics of solar and thermal radiation from these two experts in the field."
    —Sundar A. Christopher, Professor of Atmospheric Science and Dean of the College of Science, The University of Alabama in Huntsville

    "The text is a model of clarity…. I rate this a splendid addition to the university library or the bookshelf of the early career researcher in this rapidly growing field."
    Contemporary Physics (Nov 2017), review by Fredric W. Taylor, University of Oxford