Longwave Radiation

Both the Earth and the atmosphere emit longwave radiation — how much each emits is a function of temperature. At the Earth's surface, emission is simply a function of surface temperature: the higher it is, the more longwave radiation is emitted. This applet will let you explore that relationship.

Atmospheric temperature is more complex. It depends on how much energy is acquired from the Earth's surface, water vapor, and cloud cover. In this simplified version, these variables have been decoupled and you can manipulate cloud cover alone to examine what effect it has on incoming longwave radiation. 

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Map of mean cloud cover
July mean cloud cover