Kinetics of The Infrared Atmospheric Window
The infrared atmospheric window is a path from the land-sea surface of the earth to space. It separates two radiative components, window and non-window radiation, that are not of the kind that have kinetics suitable for description by the Beer-Lambert law. The window radiation and the non-window radiation from the land-sea surface are not defined in the terms that are necessary for the application of the Beer-Lambert Law. It would therefore be a logical and conceptual error to try to apply the Beer-Lambert Law either to window or non-window radiation considered separately.
The reason for this is that the window and non-window radiation have already been conditioned by the Beer-Lambert Law and the law cannot validly be re-applied to its own products. Logically, the Beer-Lambert Law applies to radiation of which the origin is known but the destination is unknown. Such is not the case for window and non-window radiation. Logically, it is part of the definition of window radiation that its destination is known, namely that it is destined to go to space, and likewise, by definition the destination of non-window radiation is known to be entire absorption by the atmosphere. Thus it makes sense to state the precise spectral distribution and spatial, especially altitudinal, distribution of locations of absorption of non-window radiation in the atmosphere. But none of those locations can be beyond the atmosphere; by definition, non-window radiation has zero probability of escaping absorption by the atmosphere; all of the locations of absorption are within the atmosphere. Radiation that can be described by the Beer-Lambert Law can partly escape absorption by the medium of interest; the law tells just how much that part is. This is a deep conceptual point that distinguishes the kinetic description of window and non-window radiation from the kinetic description of the kind of radiation that is covered by the Beer-Lambert Law.
Non-window radiation is by definition absorbed by the atmosphere, and its energy is thereby transduced into kinetic energy of atmospheric molecules. That kinetic energy is then transferred according to the usual dynamics of atmospheric energy transfer.
These kinetic principles for window and non-window radiation arise in the light of the definition of the atmospheric window as a dynamic property of the whole atmosphere, logically distinct from the electromagnetic spectral window.
Read more about this topic: Infrared Window
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