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Computation of Domain-Averaged Shortwave Irradiance by a One-Dimensional Algorithm Incorporating Correlations between Optical Thickness and Direct Incident Radiation

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  • 1 Center for Atmospheric Sciences, Hampton University, Hampton,Virginia
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Abstract

A one-dimensional radiative transfer algorithm that accounts for correlations between the optical thickness and the incident direct solar radiation is developed to compute the domain-averaged shortwave irradiance profile. It divides the direct irradiance into four components and treats the direct irradiance in two separate, clear and cloudy columns to account for the fact that clouds attenuate the direct irradiance more than clear sky. The horizontal inhomogeneity of clouds in the cloudy column is treated by the gamma-weighted two-stream approximation, which assumes that the optical thickness of clouds follows a gamma distribution. The algorithm inputs the cloud fraction, cumulative cloud fraction as a function of height, and a parameter expressing the shape of the probability density function of the cloud optical thickness distribution in addition to inputs required for a two-stream radiative transfer model. These cloud property inputs can be obtained using ground- and satellite-based instruments. Therefore, the algorithm can treat realistic cloud overlap features and horizontal inhomogeneity of clouds in a framework of one-dimensional radiative transfer. Heating rates computed by the algorithm using cloud fields generated by cloud resolving models agree with those computed with a Monte Carlo model.

Corresponding author address: Seiji Kato, NASA Langley Research Center, Mail Stop 420, Hampton, Virginia 23681-2199. Email: s.kato@larc.nasa.gov

Abstract

A one-dimensional radiative transfer algorithm that accounts for correlations between the optical thickness and the incident direct solar radiation is developed to compute the domain-averaged shortwave irradiance profile. It divides the direct irradiance into four components and treats the direct irradiance in two separate, clear and cloudy columns to account for the fact that clouds attenuate the direct irradiance more than clear sky. The horizontal inhomogeneity of clouds in the cloudy column is treated by the gamma-weighted two-stream approximation, which assumes that the optical thickness of clouds follows a gamma distribution. The algorithm inputs the cloud fraction, cumulative cloud fraction as a function of height, and a parameter expressing the shape of the probability density function of the cloud optical thickness distribution in addition to inputs required for a two-stream radiative transfer model. These cloud property inputs can be obtained using ground- and satellite-based instruments. Therefore, the algorithm can treat realistic cloud overlap features and horizontal inhomogeneity of clouds in a framework of one-dimensional radiative transfer. Heating rates computed by the algorithm using cloud fields generated by cloud resolving models agree with those computed with a Monte Carlo model.

Corresponding author address: Seiji Kato, NASA Langley Research Center, Mail Stop 420, Hampton, Virginia 23681-2199. Email: s.kato@larc.nasa.gov

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