TRANSMISSION BY THE EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE OF THERMAL ENERGY FROM NUCLEAR DETONATIONS ABOVE 50-KM ALTITUDE
Technical rept. May 1962-May 1963
STANFORD RESEARCH INST MENLO PARK CA
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The extensive literature on transmission of solar energy by the earths atmosphere supports transmission estimates for the average clear day at sea level ranging from around 80 for vertical rays to around 15 for rays 5 degrees above horizontal. On the basis of 100 for a clear day, cloud transmission varies from around 30, for light cloud, to around 3, for a dense cloud. Transmission factors can be computed when the following more important atmospheric parameters are known 1 thickness, liquid content, and droplet size of clouds 2 size and volume concentration of solid haze particles and 3 reflectivity of the earths surface. Theoretically estimated upper limits to the unattenuated energy flux from a 1000-mt detonation taken from a companion study to the present one, combined with the above estimates of atmospheric transmission, give ignition radii ranging from 250 km at 50-km burst height to 0 km at 240-km burst height for the average clear day at sea level. A conscious attempt has been made in this study to give upper limits to both transmission factors and energy fluxes. Thus, in real world situations, the ground effects are expected to be substantially less extensive and less intensive than these estimates would indicate.
- Nuclear Weapons