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Shashi K. Gupta
Nancy A. Ritchey
Anne C. Wilber
Charles H. Whitlock
Gary G. Gibson
, and
Paul W. Stackhouse Jr.


Climatological averages of surface radiation budget parameters, namely, the shortwave and longwave surface radiative fluxes, have been derived for each month of the year on a global scale. These climatological averages were derived from an 8-yr (96 month) time series of monthly average fluxes. The monthly averages were computed using fast radiation parameterizations and satellite data from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project and the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment. Results are presented as time series of hemispheric and global averages and as geographical distributions and time–latitude cross sections of climatological averages. The spatial/temporal variabilities of the results were found to be clearly related to the corresponding variabilities of meteorological and other inputs to the parameterizations. Numerous comparisons of the present results were made with available surface measurements for the purpose of validation. In most cases, the differences were found to be within the uncertainties of the measurements. In some cases, where they were large, the differences were attributable to identifiable deficiencies in the meteorological inputs and/or the surface measurements. However, large differences remained unexplained in a few cases. Anomalies of shortwave and longwave surface fluxes during the 1986/87 El Niño–Southern Oscillation episode show a strong relationship with corresponding top-of-atmosphere anomalies derived from an independent data source. Comparisons with results from several general circulation models showed large differences, but, in most cases, these were attributable to well-recognized deficiencies in model simulations. Global annual average downward and net shortwave fluxes were found to be about 185 and 161 W m−2, respectively. These values are 10–20 W m−2 lower than those obtained from the general circulation models, but they are in good agreement with other satellite-derived estimates. Global annual average downward and net longwave fluxes were found to be about 348 and −48 W m−2, respectively, which are about 10–15 W m−2 higher than corresponding values from general circulation models. Atmospheric shortwave absorption derived from the present results is 10–15 W m−2 larger than from the general circulation models, but it is in good agreement with another estimate based on satellite data.

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