Earth’s Energy Balance and the Special Role of Clouds in Earth’s Lower Atmosphere
Our guest speaker will be Dr. Odele Coddington of LASP.
Earth’s energy budget is defined by the balance between incoming solar radiation and the sum of the outgoing (reflected) shortwave radiation and the (emitted) longwave radiation. Imbalances in these energy flows, which occur regionally and over short periods of time, are what drives the atmospheric motions that we experience as weather. Climate, the “long-term average of weather” is stable when the energy flows at the top of the atmosphere are equal. Odele will discuss the current state of our knowledge of the incoming solar radiation and its effects on Earth’s climate and how the recently launched Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS) mission is expected to contribute new understanding. Then, through a series of back of the envelope calculations, she will discuss the relative effects of tropospheric clouds on Earth’s climate and how they can cause warming by absorbing the emitted outgoing energy and how they cause cooling by reflecting back to space the incoming energy from the Sun.
Odele’s research activities span two disciplines at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP): solar influences, and Earth’s atmosphere. She spends her work efforts on measuring and modeling the Sun’s irradiance and on retrieving physical properties from Earth-reflected shortwave radiation, such as clouds and surface albedo. She is involved in the NASA missions for Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance (TSIS), the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) and the Plankton, Aerosol, Clouds, and Ocean Ecosystem (PACE). In her free-time, she likes to enjoy a quiet family life with her husband and two kids.
Illustration of TSIS-1 installation one the ISS (image credit: LASP)
Observing with the SBO deck telescopes after the talk, weather permitting. Dress warm.
Alert on parking at CU Boulder!
The University has made some changes to the classification of the parking lot near Sommer-Bausch Observatory. Lot 419 that we have used for many years is no longer free after 5pm. We recommend using lot 308. Lot 308 is just west of Fiske Planetarium, which is still free and unrestricted after 5pm. You can park on the eastern side of 308, including the rows near section 305 which is metered.