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Specialisation Module: Atmospheric Radiation
Identification number

180 h
Credit Points

1st - 3rd Semester
Offered Every



1 semester
1 Course types
a) Lecture
b) Exercise
Contact time
45 h
30 h
Private study
45 h
60 h
2 Module objectives and skills to be acquired
  • Understanding the relevance of atmospheric radiation for weather and climate
  • Understanding the interaction of atmospheric radiation with atmospheric gases, aerosols, clouds and precipitation
  • Basic knowledge of modern remote sensing methods
  • Solving problems in atmospheric radiation and cloud physics
  • Computational techniques to address radiative transfer
  • Programming experience and presentation skills
  • Evaluation and interpretation of radiation sensor measurements
  • Critical assessment and discussion of scientific work, presentation techniques, faculity of abstraction, conceptional, analytic and logical way of thinking
3 Module content
  • Basic concepts and definitions, EM waves, electromagnetic spectrum
  • Reflection and refraction
  • Optical phenomena (rainbow, halos, etc.)
  • Thermal emission, Planck's function, radiation laws, brightness temperature
  • Absorption and scattering by atmospheric gases and particles
  • Radiative transfer in different spectral regions
  • Broadband fluxes and heating rates, atmospheric radiation budget
  • Climate sensitivity
  • Measurements of atmospheric radiation, ground-based & satellite
  • Remote sensing of atmospheric water vapor, clouds and precipitation
4 Teaching methods

Lecture, exercises
The exercises comprise: Task sheets for strengthening the understanding of atmospheric radiation concepts, PC-exercises on radiative transfer & heating rates, evaluation, interpretation and presentation of broadband short- and long-wave measurements of atmospheric radiation (surface and satellite-based), Remote sensing applications
5 Prerequisites (for the module)

Formal: None.
The content of the course requires the undergraduate knowledge of mathematics, physics, and meteorology.
6 Type of examination

At the beginning of the lecture-free period, there is a 120 to 180-minute written examination, the content of which is the material from the lecture and exercises. Successful completion of the exercises is required for admission to the examination; for this, the acquisition of 50% of the points to be achieved is sufficient. A repeat examination is offered before or at the beginning of the following semester.
The examination grade is the module grade. In the case of two passed examinations (see § 20 paragraph 10 examination regulations), the better grade is the module grade.
7 Credits awarded

The module is passed, and the credit points will be awarded, if the written examination is passed.
8 Compatibility with other curricula

Suitable as an elective course for physics students.
9 Proportion of final grade

Weight of the module grade in the overall grade: 6/150 (4 %)
10 Module coordinator

Ulrich Löhnert
11 Further information

Version: 2023-03-28