NPL Articles on the ‘Water Vapour Continuum’

Solar tracker – Image Courtesy NPL

Teddington, UK –?? Water vapour is a greenhouse gas that plays a major role in the Earth’s radiation balance, as it is responsible for around 55% of the absorption of solar radiation in the atmosphere. This means that understanding its absorption spectrum is vital for the accurate modelling of future weather and climate.

The ‘Water Vapour Continuum’ is a broadband effect due to the interaction of water vapour molecules which absorbs a significant amount of energy from the sun and can change with pressure and temperature. NPL scientists have published one paper and co-authored a second in the June 2012 issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A,?? a high profile journal that features papers from the internationally acclaimed Royal Society Discussion Meetings.

The papers resulted from NPL’s atmospheric water vapour measurement work and a presentation given at the Royal Society’s Theo Murphy International Meeting on ‘Water in the Gas Phase‘, which took place last year.

Collaborator organisations included the University of Reading, Met Office, Imperial College London, Zuev Institute of Atmospheric Optics and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

View a poster on NPL’s work on the Water Vapour Continuum (

More on NPL’s work on Environmental Measurement (

This work was carried out by the Centre for Carbon Measurement at NPL, which aims to reduce uncertainties in climate data, provide the robust measurement that is required to account for, price and trade carbon emissions, and help develop and accelerate the take up of low carbon technologies.

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