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Comparison of the Diurnal Cycle of Outgoing Longwave Radiation from a Climate Model with Results from ERBE

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  • 1 National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Virginia
  • | 2 Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Hampton, Virginia
  • | 3 NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia
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Abstract

The diurnal cycle of outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) computed by a climate model provides a powerful test of the numerical description of various physical processes. Diurnal cycles of OLR computed by version 3 of the Hadley Centre Atmospheric Model (HadAM3) are compared with those observed by the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) for the boreal summer season (June–August). The ERBS observations cover the domain from 55°S to 55°N. To compare the observed and modeled diurnal cycles, the principal component (PC) analysis method is used over this domain. The analysis is performed separately for the land and ocean regions. For land over this domain, the diurnal cycle computed by the model has a root-mean-square (RMS) of 11.4 W m−2, as compared with 13.3 W m−2 for ERBS. PC-1 for ERBS observations and for the model are similar, but the ERBS result has a peak near 1230 LST and decreases very slightly during night, whereas the peak of the model result is an hour later and at night the OLR decreases by 7 W m−2 between 2000 and 0600 LST. Some of the difference between the ERBS and model results is due to the computation of convection too early in the afternoon by the model. PC-2 describes effects of morning/afternoon cloudiness on OLR, depending on the sign. Over ocean in the ERBS domain, the model RMS of the OLR diurnal cycle is 2.8 W m−2, as compared with 5.9 W m−2 for ERBS. Also, for the model, PC-1 accounts for 66% of the variance, while for ERBS, PC-1 accounts for only 16% of the variance. Thus, over ocean, the ERBS results show a greater variety of OLR diurnal cycles than the model does.

Corresponding author address: G. Louis Smith, NASA Langley Research Center, Mail Stop 420, Hampton, VA 23681. Email: george.l.smith@nasa.gov

Abstract

The diurnal cycle of outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) computed by a climate model provides a powerful test of the numerical description of various physical processes. Diurnal cycles of OLR computed by version 3 of the Hadley Centre Atmospheric Model (HadAM3) are compared with those observed by the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) for the boreal summer season (June–August). The ERBS observations cover the domain from 55°S to 55°N. To compare the observed and modeled diurnal cycles, the principal component (PC) analysis method is used over this domain. The analysis is performed separately for the land and ocean regions. For land over this domain, the diurnal cycle computed by the model has a root-mean-square (RMS) of 11.4 W m−2, as compared with 13.3 W m−2 for ERBS. PC-1 for ERBS observations and for the model are similar, but the ERBS result has a peak near 1230 LST and decreases very slightly during night, whereas the peak of the model result is an hour later and at night the OLR decreases by 7 W m−2 between 2000 and 0600 LST. Some of the difference between the ERBS and model results is due to the computation of convection too early in the afternoon by the model. PC-2 describes effects of morning/afternoon cloudiness on OLR, depending on the sign. Over ocean in the ERBS domain, the model RMS of the OLR diurnal cycle is 2.8 W m−2, as compared with 5.9 W m−2 for ERBS. Also, for the model, PC-1 accounts for 66% of the variance, while for ERBS, PC-1 accounts for only 16% of the variance. Thus, over ocean, the ERBS results show a greater variety of OLR diurnal cycles than the model does.

Corresponding author address: G. Louis Smith, NASA Langley Research Center, Mail Stop 420, Hampton, VA 23681. Email: george.l.smith@nasa.gov

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