ATMOS 6200

Atmospheric Radiation


Instructor: Tim Garrett

Location: WBB 820

Hours: M,W / 1:25 PM - 2:45 PM

tim.garrett at

Transformations of solar and terrestrial radiation are fundamental to climate studies, atmospheric chemistry, numerical weather prediction, biogeochemical cycles and remote sensing. Ultimately all energy that enters and leaves the Earth system must be either absorbed or scattered. This course aims to provide a quite comprehensive physical discussion of the interactions of solar and terrestrial radiation with aerosols, clouds and gases in the atmosphere. Such seemingly simple questions as “Why is the sky blue?” and “Why are clouds white (but storm clouds green)?” have surprisingly deep and subtle roots that shed light on a very wide range of atmospheric problems.  Radiative transfer even comes into the politically pressing question of why we live in a “greenhouse” atmosphere and how exactly is it that a seemingly harmless gas, carbon dioxide, is shaping our future as it accumulates in the atmosphere.

Students who complete this course can expect to have a solid theoretical understanding of the underlying physics and mechanics of the roles of heat and light in climate, and, through computer labs, a familiarity with a variety of radiative transfer codes. Classes will focus on theory. Assignments and labs will focus on atmospheric applications.

Text: Bohren and Clothiaux: Fundamentals of Atmospheric Radiation

Problem sets: 60%. These will be computer labs and traditional assignments.

Project: 40%. A presentation on a topic related to radiative transfer requiring use of a radiative transfer code