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  • Author or Editor: S. K. Krueger x
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Qiang Fu, M. C. Cribb, H. W. Barker, S. K. Krueger, and A. Grossman


A 3D broadband solar radiative transfer scheme is formulated by integrating a Monte Carlo photon transport algorithm with the Fu–Liou radiation model. It is applied to fields of tropical mesoscale convective clouds and subtropical marine boundary layer clouds that were generated by a 2D cloud-resolving model. The effects of cloud geometry on the radiative energy budget are examined by comparing the full-resolution Monte Carlo results with those from the independent column approximation (ICA) that applies the plane-parallel radiation model to each column.

For the tropical convective cloud system, it is found that cloud geometry effects always enhance atmospheric solar absorption regardless of solar zenith angle. In a large horizontal domain (512 km), differences in domain-averaged atmospheric absorption between the Monte Carlo and the ICA are less than 4 W m−2 in the daytime. However, for a smaller domain (e.g., 75 km) containing a cluster of deep convective towers, domain-averaged absorption can be enhanced by more than 20 W m−2. For a subtropical marine boundary layer cloud system during the stratus-to-cumulus transition, calculations show that the ICA works very well for domain-averaged fluxes of the stratocumulus cloud fields even for a very small domain (4.8 km). For the trade cumulus cloud field, the effects of cloud sides and horizontal transport of photons become more significant. Calculations have also been made for both cloud systems including black carbon aerosol and a water vapor continuum. It is found that cloud geometry produces no discernible effects on the absorption enhancement due to the black carbon aerosol and water vapor continuum.

The current study indicates that the atmospheric absorption enhancement due to cloud-related 3D photon transport is small. This enhancement could not explain the excess absorption suggested by recent studies.

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B. H. Kahn, J. Teixeira, E. J. Fetzer, A. Gettelman, S. M. Hristova-Veleva, X. Huang, A. K. Kochanski, M. Köhler, S. K. Krueger, R. Wood, and M. Zhao


Observations of the scale dependence of height-resolved temperature T and water vapor q variability are valuable for improved subgrid-scale climate model parameterizations and model evaluation. Variance spectral benchmarks for T and q obtained from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) are compared to those generated by state-of-the-art numerical weather prediction “analyses” and “free-running” climate model simulations with spatial resolution comparable to AIRS. The T and q spectra from both types of models are generally too steep, with small-scale variance up to several factors smaller than AIRS. However, the two model analyses more closely resemble AIRS than the two free-running model simulations. Scaling exponents obtained for AIRS column water vapor (CWV) and height-resolved layers of q are also compared to the superparameterized Community Atmospheric Model (SP-CAM), highlighting large differences in the magnitude of CWV variance and the relative flatness of height-resolved q scaling in SP-CAM. Height-resolved q spectra obtained from aircraft observations during the Variability of the American Monsoon Systems Ocean–Cloud–Atmosphere–Land Study Regional Experiment (VOCALS-REx) demonstrate changes in scaling exponents that depend on the observations’ proximity to the base of the subsidence inversion with scale breaks that occur at approximately the dominant cloud scale (~10–30 km). This suggests that finer spatial resolution requirements must be considered for future satellite observations of T and q than those currently planned for infrared and microwave satellite sounders.

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