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A 3D Canopy Radiative Transfer Model for Global Climate Modeling: Description, Validation, and Application

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  • 1 * School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China, and Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
  • | 2 Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
  • | 3 College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
  • | 4 Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York
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Abstract

The process of solar radiative transfer at the land surface is important to energy, water, and carbon balance, especially for vegetated areas. Currently the most commonly used two-stream model considers the plant functional types (PFTs) within a grid to be independent of each other and their leaves to be horizontally homogeneous. This assumption is unrealistic in most cases. To consider canopy three-dimensional (3D) structural effects, a new framework of 3D canopy radiative transfer model was developed and validated by numerical simulations and shows a good agreement. A comparison with the two-stream model in the offline Community Land Model (CLM4.0) shows that an increase of canopy absorption mainly happens with sparse vegetation or with multilayer canopies with a large sun zenith angle θsun and is due to increases of the ground and sky shadows and of the optical pathlength because of the shadow overlapping between bushes and canopy layers. A decrease of canopy absorption occurs in densely vegetated areas with small θsun. For a one-layer canopy, these decreases are due to crown shape effects that enhance the transmission through the canopy edge. For a multilayer canopy, aside from these shape effects, transmission is also increased by the decreased ground shadow due to the shadow overlapping between layers. Ground absorption usually changes with opposite sign as that of the canopy absorption. Somewhat lower albedos are found over most vegetated areas throughout the year. The 3D model also affects the calculation of the fraction of sunlit leaves and their corresponding absorption.

Corresponding author address: Hua Yuan, School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, No. 19, Xinjiekouwai Street, Beijing 100875, China. E-mail: yuanhua@bnu.edu.cn

Abstract

The process of solar radiative transfer at the land surface is important to energy, water, and carbon balance, especially for vegetated areas. Currently the most commonly used two-stream model considers the plant functional types (PFTs) within a grid to be independent of each other and their leaves to be horizontally homogeneous. This assumption is unrealistic in most cases. To consider canopy three-dimensional (3D) structural effects, a new framework of 3D canopy radiative transfer model was developed and validated by numerical simulations and shows a good agreement. A comparison with the two-stream model in the offline Community Land Model (CLM4.0) shows that an increase of canopy absorption mainly happens with sparse vegetation or with multilayer canopies with a large sun zenith angle θsun and is due to increases of the ground and sky shadows and of the optical pathlength because of the shadow overlapping between bushes and canopy layers. A decrease of canopy absorption occurs in densely vegetated areas with small θsun. For a one-layer canopy, these decreases are due to crown shape effects that enhance the transmission through the canopy edge. For a multilayer canopy, aside from these shape effects, transmission is also increased by the decreased ground shadow due to the shadow overlapping between layers. Ground absorption usually changes with opposite sign as that of the canopy absorption. Somewhat lower albedos are found over most vegetated areas throughout the year. The 3D model also affects the calculation of the fraction of sunlit leaves and their corresponding absorption.

Corresponding author address: Hua Yuan, School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, No. 19, Xinjiekouwai Street, Beijing 100875, China. E-mail: yuanhua@bnu.edu.cn
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