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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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CO2 heat transfer

Suggested Alt-text to go along with the image when shared elsewhere:

Three-part image explaining the mechanics of how the CO2 heat transfer works

Part 1 - Non-greenhouse gas:

Shows an N2 or O2 molecule and an infra-red (IR) photon entering and exiting with caption "IR photon has little or no effect on N2 or O2"

Part 2 - Greenhouse gas radiative energy transfer:

Shows a CO2 molecule absorbing IR photon's energy in step 1 and the CO2 molecule re-radiating the IR-photon in step 2

Part 3 - Greenhouse gas kinetic energy transfer:

Step 1: CO2 molecule absorbs photon

Step 2: CO2 molecule is in an energized state where motion = heat energy

Step 3: CO2 collides with N2 and O2 molecules, transfering its motion/heat energy

Step 4: CO2 molecule is ready to absorb another IR photon

Step 5: Cold N2 or O2 molecules can absorb more motion/heat energy (higher altitude = colder)

Step 6: Cold layers are now warmer and the atmosphere contains more heat. (There's no height limit to this effect).

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