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The Spherical Harmonics Discrete Ordinate Method for Three-Dimensional Atmospheric Radiative Transfer

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  • 1 Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

A new algorithm for modeling radiative transfer in inhomogeneous three-dimensional media is described. The spherical harmonics discrete ordinate method uses a spherical harmonic angular representation to reduce memory use and time computing the source function. The radiative transfer equation is integrated along discrete ordinates through a spatial grid to model the streaming of radiation. An adaptive grid approach, which places additional points where they are most needed to improve accuracy, is implemented. The solution method is a type of successive order of scattering approach or Picard iteration. The model computes accurate radiances or fluxes in either the shortwave or longwave regions, even for highly peaked phase functions. Broadband radiative transfer is computed efficiently with a k distribution. The results of validation tests and examples illustrating the efficiency and accuracy of the algorithm are shown for simple geometries and realistic simulated clouds.

Corresponding author address: Frank Evans, Campus Box 311, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. 80309.

Email: evans@nit.colorado.edu

Abstract

A new algorithm for modeling radiative transfer in inhomogeneous three-dimensional media is described. The spherical harmonics discrete ordinate method uses a spherical harmonic angular representation to reduce memory use and time computing the source function. The radiative transfer equation is integrated along discrete ordinates through a spatial grid to model the streaming of radiation. An adaptive grid approach, which places additional points where they are most needed to improve accuracy, is implemented. The solution method is a type of successive order of scattering approach or Picard iteration. The model computes accurate radiances or fluxes in either the shortwave or longwave regions, even for highly peaked phase functions. Broadband radiative transfer is computed efficiently with a k distribution. The results of validation tests and examples illustrating the efficiency and accuracy of the algorithm are shown for simple geometries and realistic simulated clouds.

Corresponding author address: Frank Evans, Campus Box 311, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. 80309.

Email: evans@nit.colorado.edu

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