Fast Two-Stream Method for Computing Diurnal-Mean Actinic Flux in Vertically Inhomogeneous Atmospheres

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  • 1 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

Based on a derivation of the two-stream daytime-mean equations of radiative flux transfer, a method for computing the daytime-mean actinic fluxes in the absorbing and scattering vertically inhomogeneous atmosphere is suggested. The method applies direct daytime integration of the particular solutions of the two-stream approximations or the source functions. It is valid for any duration of period of averaging. The merit of the method is that the multiple scattering computation is carried out only once for the whole averaging period. It can be implemented with a number of widely used two-stream approximations. The method agrees with the results obtained with 200-point multiple scattering calculations. The method was also tested in runs with a 1-km cloud layer with optical depth of 10, as well as with aerosol background. Comparison of the results obtained for a cloud subdivided into 20 layers with those obtained for a one-layer cloud with the same optical parameters showed that direct integration of particular solutions possesses an “analytical” accuracy. In the case of the source function interpolation, the actinic fluxes calculated above the one-layer and 20-layer clouds agreed within 1%–1.5%, while below the cloud they may differ up to 5% (in the worst case). The ways of enhancing the accuracy (in a “two-stream sense”) and computational efficiency of the method are discussed.

Abstract

Based on a derivation of the two-stream daytime-mean equations of radiative flux transfer, a method for computing the daytime-mean actinic fluxes in the absorbing and scattering vertically inhomogeneous atmosphere is suggested. The method applies direct daytime integration of the particular solutions of the two-stream approximations or the source functions. It is valid for any duration of period of averaging. The merit of the method is that the multiple scattering computation is carried out only once for the whole averaging period. It can be implemented with a number of widely used two-stream approximations. The method agrees with the results obtained with 200-point multiple scattering calculations. The method was also tested in runs with a 1-km cloud layer with optical depth of 10, as well as with aerosol background. Comparison of the results obtained for a cloud subdivided into 20 layers with those obtained for a one-layer cloud with the same optical parameters showed that direct integration of particular solutions possesses an “analytical” accuracy. In the case of the source function interpolation, the actinic fluxes calculated above the one-layer and 20-layer clouds agreed within 1%–1.5%, while below the cloud they may differ up to 5% (in the worst case). The ways of enhancing the accuracy (in a “two-stream sense”) and computational efficiency of the method are discussed.

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