The potential influence of multiple scattering on longwave flux and heating rate simulations with clouds

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 08:00
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Clouds, which cover approximately 67% of the globe, serve as one of the major modulators in adjusting radiative energy on the Earth. Since rigorous radiative transfer computations including multiple scattering are costly, only absorption is considered in the longwave spectral bands in the radiation sub-models of the general circulation models (GCMs). Quantification of the effect of ignoring longwave scattering for flux and heating rate simulations is performed by using the GCM version of the Longwave Rapid Radiative Transfer Model (RRTMG_LW) with an implementation with the 16-stream Discrete Ordinates Radiative Transfer (DISORT) Program for a Multi-Layered Plane-Parallel Medium in conjunction with the 2010 CCCM products that merge satellite observations from the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO), the CloudSat, the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS). One-year global simulations show that neglecting longwave scattering overestimates upward flux at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) and underestimates downward flux at the surface by approximately 2.63 and 1.15 W/m2, respectively. Furthermore, when longwave scattering is included in the simulations, the tropopause is cooled by approximately 0.018 K/day and the surface is heated by approximately 0.028 K/day. As a result, the radiative effects of ignoring longwave scattering and doubling CO2 are comparable in magnitude.

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