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Radiation Budget of the Tropical Intraseasonal Oscillation

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  • 1 NOAA–CIRES Climate Diagnostics Center, Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

This study examines the relationship between precipitation and radiative heating on intraseasonal time scales in the Tropics using collocated top-of-atmosphere (TOA) and surface radiative flux measurements from special field program data [Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program and Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE) experiments] as well as long-term TOA flux data [from Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) and Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) satellite data]. All the different datasets consistently show that the atmosphere-integrated radiative heating is nearly in phase with the precipitation and enhances the net condensation heating by about 10%–15%. The dominant contribution to this radiative warming during wet periods is the reduction of TOA outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), primarily by clouds but with a small contribution by water vapor. This radiative heating is reduced slightly by enhanced surface downwelling longwave radiation, attributable to low cloud bases and reduced atmospheric shortwave absorption attributable to shadowing by high cloud tops.

The intraseasonal budget of TOA radiation, reflecting heating of the whole ocean plus atmosphere column, is characterized by shortwave cloud forcing anomalies that are substantially larger than the longwave cloud forcing anomaly. This imbalance is in contrast with the near cancellation between these two terms at the seasonal time scale.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Jia-Lin Lin, NOAA–CIRES Climate Diagnostics Center, 325 Broadway, R/CDC1, Boulder, CO 80305. Email: jialin.lin@noaa.gov

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between precipitation and radiative heating on intraseasonal time scales in the Tropics using collocated top-of-atmosphere (TOA) and surface radiative flux measurements from special field program data [Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program and Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE) experiments] as well as long-term TOA flux data [from Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) and Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) satellite data]. All the different datasets consistently show that the atmosphere-integrated radiative heating is nearly in phase with the precipitation and enhances the net condensation heating by about 10%–15%. The dominant contribution to this radiative warming during wet periods is the reduction of TOA outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), primarily by clouds but with a small contribution by water vapor. This radiative heating is reduced slightly by enhanced surface downwelling longwave radiation, attributable to low cloud bases and reduced atmospheric shortwave absorption attributable to shadowing by high cloud tops.

The intraseasonal budget of TOA radiation, reflecting heating of the whole ocean plus atmosphere column, is characterized by shortwave cloud forcing anomalies that are substantially larger than the longwave cloud forcing anomaly. This imbalance is in contrast with the near cancellation between these two terms at the seasonal time scale.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Jia-Lin Lin, NOAA–CIRES Climate Diagnostics Center, 325 Broadway, R/CDC1, Boulder, CO 80305. Email: jialin.lin@noaa.gov

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