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Daniel T. Pawlak, Eugene E. Clothiaux, Michael F. Modest, and Jason N. S. Cole


The full-spectrum correlated k-distribution (FSCK) method, originally developed for applications in combustion systems, is adapted for use in shortwave atmospheric radiative transfer. By weighting k distributions by the solar source function, the FSCK method eliminates the requirement that the Planck function be constant over a spectral interval. As a consequence, integration may be carried out across the full spectrum as long as the assumption of correlation from one atmospheric level to the next remains valid. Problems with the lack of correlation across the full spectrum are removed by partitioning the spectrum at a wavelength of 0.68 μm into two bands. The resulting two-band approach in the FSCK formalism produces broadband rms clear-sky flux and heating rate errors less than 1% and 6%, respectively, relative to monochromatic calculations and requires only 15 quadrature points per layer, which represents a 60%–90% reduction in computation time relative to other models currently in use.

An evaluation of fluxes calculated by the FSCK method in cases with idealized clouds demonstrates that gray cloud scattering in two spectral bands is sufficient to reproduce line-by-line generated fluxes. Two different approaches for modeling absorption by cloud drops were also examined. Explicitly including nongray cloud absorption in solar source function-weighted k distributions results in realistic in-cloud heating rates, although in-cloud heating rates were underpredicted by approximately 8%–12% as compared to line-by-line results. A gray cloud absorption parameter chosen to fit line-by-line results optimally for one cloud or atmospheric profile but applied to different cloud combinations or profiles, also closely approximated line-by-line heating rates.

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