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Radiation, Infrared

INFRARED RADIATION IS the part of the electromagnetic spectrum popularly (but not entirely accurately) conceptualized as heat. The IR region covers wavelengths that span nearly three orders of magnitude; it is conventional therefore to break this down into further subgroups (Table 1).

Table 1: Conventional breakdown of IR radiation
NameWavelengthComments
Near-infrared (NIR)0.75–1.4μmAbsorbed by water and commonly used in fiberoptic technology.
Short Wavelength Infrared (SWIR)1.4–3μmStrongly absorbed by water and used in long-range telecommunications.
Mid wavelength Infrared (MWIR)3–8μmUsed in heat-seeking missile technology.
Long Wave Infrared / Far IR (LWIR)8–1000μmNot absorbed by water, therefore used for thermal-image sensors.

The main application of IR radiation in relation to climate change is in the fields of meteorology and climatology. Satellite measurements of IR radiation received from the Earth can be used to derive cloud types and ...

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