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  • Author or Editor: Norman G. Loeb x
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Tyler J. Thorsen
,
Seiji Kato
,
Norman G. Loeb
, and
Fred G. Rose

Abstract

The Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES)–partial radiative perturbation [PRP (CERES-PRP)] methodology applies partial-radiative-perturbation-like calculations to observational datasets to directly isolate the individual cloud, atmospheric, and surface property contributions to the variability of the radiation budget. The results of these calculations can further be used to construct radiative kernels. A suite of monthly mean observation-based inputs are used for the radiative transfer, including cloud properties from either the diurnally resolved passive-sensor-based CERES synoptic (SYN) data or the combination of the CloudSat cloud radar and Cloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) lidar. The CloudSat/CALIPSO cloud profiles are incorporated via a clustering method that obtains monthly mean cloud properties suitable for accurate radiative transfer calculations. The computed fluxes are validated using the TOA fluxes observed by CERES. Applications of the CERES-PRP methodology are demonstrated by computing the individual contributions to the variability of the radiation budget over multiple years and by deriving water vapor radiative kernels. The calculations for the former are used to show that an approximately linear decomposition of the total flux anomalies is achieved. The observation-based water vapor kernels were used to investigate the accuracy of the GCM-based NCAR CAM3.0 water vapor kernel. Differences between our observation-based kernel and the NCAR one are marginally larger than those inferred by previous comparisons among different GCM kernels.

Open access
Norman G. Loeb
,
Konstantin Loukachine
,
Natividad Manalo-Smith
,
Bruce A. Wielicki
, and
David F. Young

Abstract

Top-of-atmosphere (TOA) radiative fluxes from the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) are estimated from empirical angular distribution models (ADMs) that convert instantaneous radiance measurements to TOA fluxes. This paper evaluates the accuracy of CERES TOA fluxes obtained from a new set of ADMs developed for the CERES instrument onboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). The uncertainty in regional monthly mean reflected shortwave (SW) and emitted longwave (LW) TOA fluxes is less than 0.5 W m−2, based on comparisons with TOA fluxes evaluated by direct integration of the measured radiances. When stratified by viewing geometry, TOA fluxes from different angles are consistent to within 2% in the SW and 0.7% (or 2 W m−2) in the LW. In contrast, TOA fluxes based on ADMs from the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) applied to the same CERES radiance measurements show a 10% relative increase with viewing zenith angle in the SW and a 3.5% (9 W m−2) decrease with viewing zenith angle in the LW. Based on multiangle CERES radiance measurements, 1° regional instantaneous TOA flux errors from the new CERES ADMs are estimated to be <10 W m−2 in the SW and <3.5 W m−2 in the LW. The errors show little or no dependence on cloud phase, cloud optical depth, and cloud infrared emissivity. An analysis of cloud radiative forcing (CRF) sensitivity to differences between ERBE and CERES TRMM ADMs, scene identification, and directional models of albedo as a function of solar zenith angle shows that ADM and clear-sky scene identification differences can lead to an 8 W m−2 root-mean-square (rms) difference in 1° daily mean SW CRF and a 4 W m−2 rms difference in LW CRF. In contrast, monthly mean SW and LW CRF differences reach 3 W m−2. CRF is found to be relatively insensitive to differences between the ERBE and CERES TRMM directional models.

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Norman G. Loeb
,
Seiji Kato
,
Konstantin Loukachine
,
Natividad Manalo-Smith
, and
David R. Doelling

Abstract

Errors in top-of-atmosphere (TOA) radiative fluxes from the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument due to uncertainties in radiance-to-flux conversion from CERES Terra angular distribution models (ADMs) are evaluated through a series of consistency tests. These tests show that the overall bias in regional monthly mean shortwave (SW) TOA flux is less than 0.2 W m−2 and the regional RMS error ranges from 0.70 to 1.4 W m−2. In contrast, SW TOA fluxes inferred using theoretical ADMs that assume clouds are plane parallel are overestimated by 3–4 W m−2 and exhibit a strong latitudinal dependence. In the longwave (LW), the bias error ranges from 0.2 to 0.4 W m−2 and regional RMS errors remain smaller than 0.7 W m−2. Global mean albedos derived from ADMs developed during the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) and applied to CERES measurements show a systematic increase with viewing zenith angle of 4%–8%, while albedos from the CERES Terra ADMs show a smaller increase of 1%–2%. The LW fluxes from the ERBE ADMs show a systematic decrease with viewing zenith angle of 2%–2.4%, whereas fluxes from the CERES Terra ADMs remain within 0.7%–0.8% at all angles. Based on several months of multiangle CERES along-track data, the SW TOA flux consistency between nadir- and oblique-viewing zenith angles is generally 5% (<17 W m−2) over land and ocean and 9% (26 W m−2) in polar regions, and LW TOA flux consistency is approximate 3% (7 W m−2) over all surfaces. Based on these results and a theoretically derived conversion between TOA flux consistency and TOA flux error, the best estimate of the error in CERES TOA flux due to the radiance-to-flux conversion is 3% (10 W m−2) in the SW and 1.8% (3–5 W m−2) in the LW. Monthly mean TOA fluxes based on ERBE ADMs are larger than monthly mean TOA fluxes based on CERES Terra ADMs by 1.8 and 1.3 W m−2 in the SW and LW, respectively.

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Norman G. Loeb
,
David R. Doelling
,
Hailan Wang
,
Wenying Su
,
Cathy Nguyen
,
Joseph G. Corbett
,
Lusheng Liang
,
Cristian Mitrescu
,
Fred G. Rose
, and
Seiji Kato

Abstract

The Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) Energy Balanced and Filled (EBAF) top-of-atmosphere (TOA), Edition 4.0 (Ed4.0), data product is described. EBAF Ed4.0 is an update to EBAF Ed2.8, incorporating all of the Ed4.0 suite of CERES data product algorithm improvements and consistent input datasets throughout the record. A one-time adjustment to shortwave (SW) and longwave (LW) TOA fluxes is made to ensure that global mean net TOA flux for July 2005–June 2015 is consistent with the in situ value of 0.71 W m−2. While global mean all-sky TOA flux differences between Ed4.0 and Ed2.8 are within 0.5 W m−2, appreciable SW regional differences occur over marine stratocumulus and snow/sea ice regions. Marked regional differences in SW clear-sky TOA flux occur in polar regions and dust areas over ocean. Clear-sky LW TOA fluxes in EBAF Ed4.0 exceed Ed2.8 in regions of persistent high cloud cover. Owing to substantial differences in global mean clear-sky TOA fluxes, the net cloud radiative effect in EBAF Ed4.0 is −18 W m−2 compared to −21 W m−2 in EBAF Ed2.8. The overall uncertainty in 1° × 1° latitude–longitude regional monthly all-sky TOA flux is estimated to be 3 W m−2 [one standard deviation (1σ)] for the Terra-only period and 2.5 W m−2 for the TerraAqua period both for SW and LW fluxes. The SW clear-sky regional monthly flux uncertainty is estimated to be 6 W m−2 for the Terra-only period and 5 W m−2 for the TerraAqua period. The LW clear-sky regional monthly flux uncertainty is 5 W m−2 for Terra only and 4.5 W m−2 for TerraAqua.

Open access
David A. Rutan
,
Seiji Kato
,
David R. Doelling
,
Fred G. Rose
,
Le Trang Nguyen
,
Thomas E. Caldwell
, and
Norman G. Loeb

Abstract

The Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System Synoptic (SYN1deg), edition 3, product provides climate-quality global 3-hourly 1° × 1°gridded top of atmosphere, in-atmosphere, and surface radiant fluxes. The in-atmosphere surface fluxes are computed hourly using a radiative transfer code based upon inputs from Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), 3-hourly geostationary (GEO) data, and meteorological assimilation data from the Goddard Earth Observing System. The GEO visible and infrared imager calibration is tied to MODIS to ensure uniform MODIS-like cloud properties across all satellite cloud datasets. Computed surface radiant fluxes are compared to surface observations at 85 globally distributed land (37) and ocean buoy (48) sites as well as several other publicly available global surface radiant flux data products. Computed monthly mean downward fluxes from SYN1deg have a bias (standard deviation) of 3.0 W m−2 (5.7%) for shortwave and −4.0 W m−2 (2.9%) for longwave compared to surface observations. The standard deviation between surface downward shortwave flux calculations and observations at the 3-hourly time scale is reduced when the diurnal cycle of cloud changes is explicitly accounted for. The improvement is smaller for surface downward longwave flux owing to an additional sensitivity to boundary layer temperature/humidity, which has a weaker diurnal cycle compared to clouds.

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Seiji Kato
,
Norman G. Loeb
,
John T. Fasullo
,
Kevin E. Trenberth
,
Peter H. Lauritzen
,
Fred G. Rose
,
David A. Rutan
, and
Masaki Satoh

Abstract

Effects of water mass imbalance and hydrometeor transport on the enthalpy flux and water phase on diabatic heating rate in computing the regional energy and water budget of the atmosphere over ocean are investigated. Equations of energy and water budget of the atmospheric column that explicitly consider the velocity of liquid and ice cloud particles, and rain and snow are formulated by separating water variables from dry air. Differences of energy budget equations formulated in this study from those used in earlier studies are that 1) diabatic heating rate depends on water phase, 2) diabatic heating due to net condensation of nonprecipitating hydrometeors is included, and 3) hydrometeors can be advected with a different velocity from the dry-air velocity. Convergence of water vapor associated with phase change and horizontal transport of hydrometeors is to increase diabatic heating in the atmospheric column where hydrometeors are formed and exported and to reduce energy where hydrometeors are imported and evaporated. The process can improve the regional energy and water mass balance when energy data products are integrated. Effects of enthalpy transport associated with water mass transport through the surface are cooling to the atmosphere and warming to the ocean when the enthalpy is averaged over the global ocean. There is no net effect to the atmosphere and ocean columns combined. While precipitation phase changes the regional diabatic heating rate up to 15 W m−2, the dependence of the global mean value on the temperature threshold of melting snow to form rain is less than 1 W m−2.

Open access
Norman G. Loeb
,
Fred G. Rose
,
Seiji Kato
,
David A. Rutan
,
Wenying Su
,
Hailan Wang
,
David R. Doelling
,
William L. Smith
, and
Andrew Gettelman

Abstract

A new method of determining clear-sky radiative fluxes from satellite observations for climate model evaluation is presented. The method consists of applying adjustment factors to existing satellite clear-sky broadband radiative fluxes that make the observed and simulated clear-sky flux definitions more consistent. The adjustment factors are determined from the difference between observation-based radiative transfer model calculations of monthly mean clear-sky fluxes obtained by ignoring clouds in the atmospheric column and by weighting hourly mean clear-sky fluxes with imager-based clear-area fractions. The global mean longwave (LW) adjustment factor is −2.2 W m−2 at the top of the atmosphere and 2.7 W m−2 at the surface. The LW adjustment factors are pronounced at high latitudes during winter and in regions with high upper-tropospheric humidity and cirrus cloud cover, such as over the west tropical Pacific, and the South Pacific and intertropical convergence zones. In the shortwave (SW), global mean adjustment is 0.5 W m−2 at TOA and −1.9 W m−2 at the surface. It is most pronounced over sea ice off of Antarctica and over heavy aerosol regions, such as eastern China. However, interannual variations in the regional SW and LW adjustment factors are small compared to those in cloud radiative effect. After applying the LW adjustment factors, differences in zonal mean cloud radiative effect between observations and climate models decrease markedly between 60°S and 60°N and poleward of 65°N. The largest regional improvements occur over the west tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans. In contrast, the impact of the SW adjustment factors is much smaller.

Open access
Seiji Kato
,
Kuan-Man Xu
,
Takmeng Wong
,
Norman G. Loeb
,
Fred G. Rose
,
Kevin E. Trenberth
, and
Tyler J. Thorsen

Abstract

Observationally based atmospheric energy balance is analyzed using Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES)-derived TOA and surface irradiance, Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP)-derived precipitation, dry static and kinetic energy tendency and divergence estimated from ERA-Interim, and surface sensible heat flux from SeaFlux. The residual tends to be negative over the tropics and positive over midlatitudes. A negative residual implies that the precipitation rate is too small, divergence is too large, or radiative cooling is too large. The residual of atmospheric energy is spatially and temporally correlated with cloud objects to identify cloud types associated with the residual. Spatially, shallow cumulus, cirrostratus, and deep convective cloud-object occurrence are positively correlated with the absolute value of the residual. The temporal correlation coefficient between the number of deep convective cloud objects and individual energy components, net atmospheric irradiance, precipitation rate, and the sum of dry static and kinetic energy divergence and their tendency over the western Pacific are 0.84, 0.95, and 0.93, respectively. However, when all energy components are added, the atmospheric energy residual over the tropical Pacific is temporally correlated well with the number of shallow cumulus cloud objects over tropical Pacific. Because shallow cumulus alters not enough atmospheric energy compared to the residual, this suggests the following: 1) if retrieval errors associated with deep convective clouds are causing the column-integrated atmospheric energy residual, the errors vary among individual deep convective clouds, and 2) it is possible that the residual is associated with processes in which shallow cumulus clouds affect deep convective clouds and hence atmospheric energy budget over the tropical western Pacific.

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Norman G. Loeb
,
Hailan Wang
,
Fred G. Rose
,
Seiji Kato
,
William L. Smith Jr
, and
Sunny Sun-Mack

Abstract

A diagnostic tool for determining surface and atmospheric contributions to interannual variations in top-of-atmosphere (TOA) reflected shortwave (SW) and net downward SW surface radiative fluxes is introduced. The method requires only upward and downward radiative fluxes at the TOA and surface as input and therefore can readily be applied to both satellite-derived and model-generated radiative fluxes. Observations from the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) Energy Balanced and Filled (EBAF) Edition 4.0 product show that 81% of the monthly variability in global mean reflected SW TOA flux anomalies is associated with atmospheric variations (mainly clouds), 6% is from surface variations, and 13% is from atmosphere–surface covariability. Over the Arctic Ocean, most of the variability in both reflected SW TOA flux and net downward SW surface flux anomalies is explained by variations in sea ice and cloud fraction alone (r 2 = 0.94). Compared to CERES, variability in two reanalyses—the ECMWF interim reanalysis (ERA-Interim) and NASA’s Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2)—show large differences in the regional distribution of variance for both the atmospheric and surface contributions to anomalies in net downward SW surface flux. For MERRA-2 the atmospheric contribution is 17% too large compared to CERES while ERA-Interim underestimates the variance by 15%. The difference is mainly due to how cloud variations are represented in the reanalyses. The overall surface contribution in both ERA-Interim and MERRA-2 is smaller than CERES EBAF by 15% for ERA-Interim and 58% for MERRA-2, highlighting limitations of the reanalyses in representing surface albedo variations and their influence on SW radiative fluxes.

Open access
Seiji Kato
,
Norman G. Loeb
,
Fred G. Rose
,
David R. Doelling
,
David A. Rutan
,
Thomas E. Caldwell
,
Lisan Yu
, and
Robert A. Weller

Abstract

The estimate of surface irradiance on a global scale is possible through radiative transfer calculations using satellite-retrieved surface, cloud, and aerosol properties as input. Computed top-of-atmosphere (TOA) irradiances, however, do not necessarily agree with observation-based values, for example, from the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES). This paper presents a method to determine surface irradiances using observational constraints of TOA irradiance from CERES. A Lagrange multiplier procedure is used to objectively adjust inputs based on their uncertainties such that the computed TOA irradiance is consistent with CERES-derived irradiance to within the uncertainty. These input adjustments are then used to determine surface irradiance adjustments. Observations by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), Cloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO), CloudSat, and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) that are a part of the NASA A-Train constellation provide the uncertainty estimates. A comparison with surface observations from a number of sites shows that the bias [root-mean-square (RMS) difference] between computed and observed monthly mean irradiances calculated with 10 years of data is 4.7 (13.3) W m−2 for downward shortwave and −2.5 (7.1) W m−2 for downward longwave irradiances over ocean and −1.7 (7.8) W m−2 for downward shortwave and −1.0 (7.6) W m−2 for downward longwave irradiances over land. The bias and RMS error for the downward longwave and shortwave irradiances over ocean are decreased from those without constraint. Similarly, the bias and RMS error for downward longwave over land improves, although the constraint does not improve downward shortwave over land. This study demonstrates how synergetic use of multiple instruments (CERES, MODIS, CALIPSO, CloudSat, AIRS, and geostationary satellites) improves the accuracy of surface irradiance computations.

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