October 1990

Document Type


Degree Name



Dept. of Atmospheric Physics


Oregon Graduate Institute of Science & Technology


A time dependent one dimensional radiative convective model (1D RCM) is developed to study the sensitivity of the Earth's vertical temperature structure to variations in external and internal components of the climate system. Special emphasis is given to the theory and development of the model so that it may be easily used and understood by others. The sensitivity of the Earth's surface temperature to variations in such parameters as the solar constant, surface albedo, cloud cover fraction, etc. is explored. The model developed is found to experience an approximate change in surface temperature of 2.0 K for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration (from 320 to 640 ppm). This compares favorably with other previously published results for similar models. The influence on mean global temperature of variations in the atmospheric concentrations of CO2, CH4, N2O, F11, and F12 over the past century is simulated with the model and compared with the record of mean global temperature reconstructed from observations. In addition the effect of volcanic aerosols on the simulated record is explored. It is concluded that the OGI 1D RCM can serve as a valuable research tool in the future, for studying perturbations of the global average vertical thermal structure of the Earth-atmosphere system. It is also stressed that the 1D nature of the model is limited in that it offers no horizontal or seasonal resolution of the climate system.





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