Unit 12

Shortwave and long-wave radiation, radiation transfer and global energy budget

This units introduces the concept of radiation transfer, the distinction of shortwave and long-wave radiation, spectral ranges, the interaction between matter and radiation. Furthermore, the global energy budget is discussed.

Learning goal

After successful completion of this unit you will be able to

  • sketch the solar and terrestrial radiation
  • describe the different behavior of shortwave and long-wave radiation, and their interaction with the atmosphere’s components
  • solve simple problems related to shortwave and long-wave radiation processes
  • interpret optical phenomena like halo, double rainbows, etc.
  • name in which spectral ranges any given target has which characteristic interaction with radiation
  • solve problems related to radiation – matter interaction (graduate students)

Students’ Tasks

  1. Watch this video on the material
  2. Read chapter 4.3 to 4.5 (only), and 4.6 to 4.6.2 (included) of Lectures in Meteorology
  3. All students: Participate in the discussion channel of this unit on the discussion board
  4. Fill out the questionnaire form
  5. Watch the video of the worked problem (Graduate students)

  6. Solve the problems assigned at your class level in this unit12 task sheet, scan and submit your solutions by Thursday 2359 to cmoelders@alaska.edu.

Supplemental Material

You can find the powerpoint printout of the video’s slides at this link.


Q: Where does the 4 come from in the equation for the shortwave-long-wave equilibrium equation and why do we deal differently with shortwave and long-wave radiation?

A: Watch this video for an explanation


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