About one hundred years ago, S. Arrhenius brought forward a hypothesis that the atmospheric temperature of at the surface of the Earth was increasing under the influence of the glasshouse effect created by carbonic acid gas. Since that time, the researchers, when simulating the planet climate, have mainly focused on O2 and it is water vapour that comprises the largest mass of all greenhouse gases. Thanks to water vapour and clouds, the average temperature at the surface of the planet is about 15 degrees C, instead of minus 58 degrees C (absolutely dry air would have this particular temperature).
Measuring air temperature at night in windless weather, in absence of low clouds, fogs or precipitations, the researchers have come to the conclusion that cooling down of the earth surface depends on water vapour concentration: the high the concentration is, the more warmth the Earth would preserve. In this case, water vapour plays the role of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
Other greenhouse admixtures - carbon oxide and dioxide, often called carbon monoxide and carbonic acid gas, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, hydrogen chloride, ammonia and many others – also impact the air temperature, but their role in this process is much weaker. This is explained by the fact that water vapour density (absolute humidity) is by two to three times higher that that of other admixtures. And the quantity of radiation, including thermal radiation, absorbed by some admixture and the rise of temperature caused by it is proportionate to the concentration (density) of this admixture.
Sergey Komarov | alfa
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