Author(s): Wang WC, Yung YL, Lacis AA, Mo T, Hansen JE
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Abstract Nitrous oxide, methane, ammonia, and a number of other trace constituents in the earth's atmosphere have infrared absorption bands in the spectral region 7 to 14 microm and contribute to the atmospheric greenhouse effect. The concentrations of these trace gases may undergo substantial changes because of man's activities. Extensive use of chemical fertilizers and combustion of fossil fuels may perturb the nitrogen cycle, leading to increases in atmospheric N(2)O, and the same perturbing processes may increase the amounts of atmospheric CH(4) and NH(3). We use a one-dimensional radiative-convective model for the atmospheric thermal structure to compute the change in the surface temperature of the earth for large assumed increases in the trace gas concentrations; doubling the N(2)O, CH(4), and NH(3) concentrations is found to cause additive increases in the surface temperature of 0.7 degrees , 0.3 degrees , and 0.1 degrees K, respectively. These systematic effects on the earth's radiation budget would have substantial climatic significance. It is therefore important that the abundances of these trace gases be accurately monitored to determine the actual trends of their concentrations.
This article was published in Science
and referenced in Journal of Earth Science & Climatic Change