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Collision-induced Absorption in the Earth's Atmosphere


MOST of the absorption which occurs in the atmosphere in the infra-red region is due to the minor constituents such as water-vapour, carbon dioxide and ozone. The major constituents oxygen and nitrogen possess no dipole moment so that their vibrational and rotational energy states cannot be excited directly by absorption of radiation. However, dipole moments are induced during collision processes; transitions due to these can be seen in very long absorbing paths such as are present in the atmosphere. This report shows that absorption in the solar spectrum near 4.2µ is due to collision-induced absorption by nitrogen, and presents a short discussion of the importance of the rotational collision-induced bands of oxygen and nitrogen in the radiation budget of the atmosphere.

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FARMER, C., HOUGHTON, J. Collision-induced Absorption in the Earth's Atmosphere. Nature 209, 1341–1342 (1966).

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