American Heritage
Science Dictionary
radiational cooling   (rā'dē-ā'shə-nəl)  Pronunciation Key 
The cooling of the Earth's surface and the air near the surface, occurring chiefly at night. It is caused by the emission of infrared radiation from the Earth's surface and from the tops of clouds and the atmosphere. Because infrared radiation is absorbed by water vapor, cloudless nights usually allow for greater radiational cooling than overcast nights. Radiational cooling occurs in all regions of the Earth and is important in maintaining the Earth's energy balance.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Saturation was temporarily delayed as the warming combated the radiational
  cooling under clear skies.
Clear skies and light winds allow for ideal radiational cooling at night.
However, the smoke plume moved over the area and slowed down the radiational
  cooling.
During the winter and early spring months, fog occasionally forms due to
  radiational cooling from snow cover on the ground.
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