Video Lecture: Physics of Scattering and Greenhouse Gases

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Two video lectures titled, ‘Physics of scattering, emission and absorption’ from the e-learning course, ‘Introduction to Atmospheric Science’ developed by C Balaji, IIT Madras, for National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), India. These video lectures explain the behaviour of Earth’s atmosphere due to interaction between gases and sun’s radiation which lead to radiative absorption, emission and scattering.

Students will learn about reflection, refraction, isotropic scattering, greenhouse gases, extinction coefficient, Prevost law, Stefan Boltzmann law, thermal conductivity of water, Kirchhoff’s law, Marshall-Palmer distribution, Rayleigh scattering, Mie scattering, Doppler and Lorentz broadening and Gaussian distribution.

A transcript of the lecture is also provided.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. How do greenhouse gases interact with incoming solar radiation?
  2. Discuss the physics of scattering in the atmosphere.

About the tool

Tool NameLecture – 33 and 34: Physics of scattering, emission and absorption
DisciplinePhysics, Earth Sciences
Topic(s) in DisciplineClimate Physics, Atmospheric Sciences, Atmospheric Physics, Prevost law, Stefan Boltzmann law, Kirchhoff’s law, Marshall-Palmer distribution, Rayleigh scattering
Climate TopicIntroduction to Climate Change; Planetary Climate; Planetary Energy Balance; Climate and the Atmosphere
Type of toolVideo Lecture (48 mins and 41 mins)
Grade LevelUndergraduate, Graduate
Developed byC Balaji, IIT Madras
Hosted atNPTEL (
LinkLink 1 , Link 2
Computer SkillsBasic