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A Systematic Error in Plane-Parallel Radiative Transfer Calculations

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  • 1 Environment Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • | 2 Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
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Abstract

Systematic errors in plane-parallel radiative transfer calculations are examined in the context of limb radiance. Calculation of the multiple-scattering component of limb radiance using plane-parallel geometry can lead to a systematic overestimation that increases with surface albedo and tangent height. It is demonstrated that the cause of this is the overestimate of the surface-reflected radiance component. A simple yet effective correction is introduced that reduces these errors from 4%–8% to <2%. This error source may manifest itself in any application of radiative transfer calculations employing plane-parallel geometry.

Corresponding author address: Chris McLinden, Environment Canada, 4905 Dufferin Street, Toronto, ON M3H 5T4, Canada. Email: chris.mclinden@ec.gc.ca

Abstract

Systematic errors in plane-parallel radiative transfer calculations are examined in the context of limb radiance. Calculation of the multiple-scattering component of limb radiance using plane-parallel geometry can lead to a systematic overestimation that increases with surface albedo and tangent height. It is demonstrated that the cause of this is the overestimate of the surface-reflected radiance component. A simple yet effective correction is introduced that reduces these errors from 4%–8% to <2%. This error source may manifest itself in any application of radiative transfer calculations employing plane-parallel geometry.

Corresponding author address: Chris McLinden, Environment Canada, 4905 Dufferin Street, Toronto, ON M3H 5T4, Canada. Email: chris.mclinden@ec.gc.ca

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