So how simple can you make a model that contains the basic greenhouse physics? Pretty simple actually. You need to account for the solar radiation coming in (including the impact of albedo), the longwave radiation coming from the surface (which depends on the temperature) and some absorption/radiation (the 'emissivity') of longwave radiation in the atmosphere (the basic greenhouse effect). Optionally, you can increase the realism by adding feedbacks (allowing the absorption or albedo to depend on temperature), and other processes - like convection - that link the surface and atmosphere more closely than radiation does. You can skip directly to the bottom-line points if you don't want to see the gory details.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment