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Cosmic ray modulation of infra-red radiation in the atmosphere

Aplin, K. L. and Lockwood, M. (2013) Cosmic ray modulation of infra-red radiation in the atmosphere. Environmental Research Letters, 8 (1). 015026. ISSN 1748-9326

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/015026


Cosmic rays produce molecular cluster ions as they pass through the lower atmosphere. Neutral molecular clusters such as dimers and complexes are expected to make a small contribution to the radiative balance, but atmospheric absorption by charged clusters has not hitherto been observed. In an atmospheric experiment, a narrowband thermopile filter radiometer centred on 9.15 {\mu}m, an absorption band previously associated with infra-red absorption of molecular cluster ions, was used to monitor changes following events identified by a cosmic ray telescope sensitive to high-energy (>400 MeV) particles, principally muons. The average change in longwave radiation in this absorption band due to molecular cluster ions is 7 mWm sup{-2}. The integrated atmospheric energy density for each event is 2 Jm sup{-2}, representing an amplification factor of 10 sup{12} compared to the estimated energy density of a typical air shower. This absorption is expected to occur continuously and globally, but calculations suggest that it has only a small effect on climate.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:31720
Publisher:Institute of Physics


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