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Ryan E. Stanfield, Xiquan Dong, Baike Xi, Anthony D. Del Genio, Patrick Minnis, David Doelling, and Norman Loeb


In Part I of this study, the NASA GISS Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) and post-CMIP5 (herein called C5 and P5, respectively) simulated cloud properties were assessed utilizing multiple satellite observations, with a particular focus on the southern midlatitudes (SMLs). This study applies the knowledge gained from Part I of this series to evaluate the modeled TOA radiation budgets and cloud radiative effects (CREs) globally using CERES EBAF (CE) satellite observations and the impact of regional cloud properties and water vapor on the TOA radiation budgets. Comparisons revealed that the P5- and C5-simulated global means of clear-sky and all-sky outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) match well with CE observations, while biases are observed regionally. Negative biases are found in both P5- and C5-simulated clear-sky OLR. P5-simulated all-sky albedo slightly increased over the SMLs due to the increase in low-level cloud fraction from the new planetary boundary layer (PBL) scheme. Shortwave, longwave, and net CRE are quantitatively analyzed as well. Regions of strong large-scale atmospheric upwelling/downwelling motion are also defined to compare regional differences across multiple cloud and radiative variables. In general, the P5 and C5 simulations agree with the observations better over the downwelling regime than over the upwelling regime. Comparing the results herein with the cloud property comparisons presented in Part I, the modeled TOA radiation budgets and CREs agree well with the CE observations. These results, combined with results in Part I, have quantitatively estimated how much improvement is found in the P5-simulated cloud and radiative properties, particularly over the SMLs and tropics, due to the implementation of the new PBL and convection schemes.

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Aaron D. Kennedy, Xiquan Dong, Baike Xi, Patrick Minnis, Anthony D. Del Genio, Audrey B. Wolf, and Mandana M. Khaiyer


Three years of surface and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) data from the Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) site are used to evaluate the NASA GISS Single Column Model (SCM) simulated clouds from January 1999 to December 2001. The GOES-derived total cloud fractions for both 0.5° and 2.5° grid boxes are in excellent agreement with surface observations, suggesting that ARM point observations can represent large areal observations. Low (<2 km), middle (2–6 km), and high (>6 km) levels of cloud fractions, however, have negative biases as compared to the ARM results due to multilayer cloud scenes that can either mask lower cloud layers or cause misidentifications of cloud tops. Compared to the ARM observations, the SCM simulated most midlevel clouds, overestimated low clouds (4%), and underestimated total and high clouds by 7% and 15%, respectively. To examine the dependence of the modeled high and low clouds on the large-scale synoptic patterns, variables such as relative humidity (RH) and vertical pressure velocity (omega) from North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) data are included. The successfully modeled and missed high clouds are primarily associated with a trough and ridge upstream of the ARM SGP, respectively. The PDFs of observed high and low occurrence as a function of RH reveal that high clouds have a Gaussian-like distribution with mode RH values of ∼40%–50%, whereas low clouds have a gammalike distribution with the highest cloud probability occurring at RH ∼75%–85%. The PDFs of modeled low clouds are similar to those observed; however, for high clouds the PDFs are shifted toward higher values of RH. This results in a negative bias for the modeled high clouds because many of the observed clouds occur at RH values below the SCM-specified stratiform parameterization threshold RH of 60%. Despite many similarities between PDFs derived from the NARR and ARM forcing datasets for RH and omega, differences do exist. This warrants further investigation of the forcing and reanalysis datasets.

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