New insights on how CO2 absorbs light, effects global warming

By on June 24, 2015


Researchers from London College have made a significant improvement in estimates of the colors of light carbon dioxide is likely to absorb, according to a recent press release from London College.

The advancement dramatically improves the accuracy of CO2 radiation absorption estimations, a factor influencing global warming. Previous estimates of how much radiation a CO2 molecule can absorb were only accurate to within 5 percent error. The new method has an error of only 0.3 percent.

Quantum mechanical equations were used as the basis of computer simulations representing carbon dioxide absorption of various colors of light. Very precise measurements using a technique called cavity-ring down spectroscopy were used to verify the absorption estimates.  The agreement between the computer simulations and the spectroscopy data was excellent.

The new calculations will permit scientists to better monitor carbon dioxide’s evolution and movement in the atmosphere, which will in turn improve estimates of how the greenhouse gas effects global warming.

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