Direct Radiometric Observations of the Water Vapor Greenhouse Effect Over the Equatorial Pacific Ocean

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Science  21 Mar 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5307, pp. 1773-1776
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5307.1773

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Airborne radiometric measurements were used to determine tropospheric profiles of the clear sky greenhouse effect. At sea surface temperatures (SSTs) larger than 300 kelvin, the clear sky water vapor greenhouse effect was found to increase with SST at a rate of 13 to 15 watts per square meter per kelvin. Satellite measurements of infrared radiances and SSTs indicate that almost 52 percent of the tropical oceans between 20°N and 20°S are affected during all seasons. Current general circulation models suggest that the increase in the clear sky water vapor greenhouse effect with SST may have climatic effects on a planetary scale.

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