Infrared Radiation Parameterizations in Numerical Climate Models

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  • 1 Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
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Abstract

Parameterizations for infrared radiation (IR) in clear atmosphere can be made fast and accurate by grouping spectral regions with similar radiative properties, and by separating the low pressure region of the atmosphere from the high pressure region. Various approaches are presented in this study to parameterizing the broadband transmission functions for use in numerical climate models. For water vapor and carbon dioxide (CO2) bands, the transmission functions are parameterized separately for the middle atmosphere (0.01–30 mb) and for the region below. In the middle atmosphere where the dependence of absorption on pressure and temperature is not strong, the diffuse transmission functions are derived from that at a reference pressure and temperature. In the lower stratosphere and the troposphere, the spectra are grouped into band-center regions and band-wing regions. One-parameter scaling is applied to approximate a nonhomogeneous path with an equivalent homogeneous path, and the diffuse transmittances are either fit by analytical functions or interpolated from precomputed tables.

As opposed to the one-parameter scaling, which applies only to a relatively narrow pressure range, the two-parameter scaling (commonly called the Curtis-Godson approximation) is applied to parameterizing the carbon dioxide (CO2) and ozone (O3) transmission functions in both the middle and the lower atmosphere. The diffuse transmission functions are simply interpolated from three small precomputed tables. The accuracies of cooling rates in the 15-μm band computed using the approximation for both the middle and the lower atmospheres are comparable with that using the parameterizations separately for the middle and the lower atmospheres. The radiative effect of nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) is also examined. Parameterizations are presented for the N2O and CH4 diffuse transmission functions.

Abstract

Parameterizations for infrared radiation (IR) in clear atmosphere can be made fast and accurate by grouping spectral regions with similar radiative properties, and by separating the low pressure region of the atmosphere from the high pressure region. Various approaches are presented in this study to parameterizing the broadband transmission functions for use in numerical climate models. For water vapor and carbon dioxide (CO2) bands, the transmission functions are parameterized separately for the middle atmosphere (0.01–30 mb) and for the region below. In the middle atmosphere where the dependence of absorption on pressure and temperature is not strong, the diffuse transmission functions are derived from that at a reference pressure and temperature. In the lower stratosphere and the troposphere, the spectra are grouped into band-center regions and band-wing regions. One-parameter scaling is applied to approximate a nonhomogeneous path with an equivalent homogeneous path, and the diffuse transmittances are either fit by analytical functions or interpolated from precomputed tables.

As opposed to the one-parameter scaling, which applies only to a relatively narrow pressure range, the two-parameter scaling (commonly called the Curtis-Godson approximation) is applied to parameterizing the carbon dioxide (CO2) and ozone (O3) transmission functions in both the middle and the lower atmosphere. The diffuse transmission functions are simply interpolated from three small precomputed tables. The accuracies of cooling rates in the 15-μm band computed using the approximation for both the middle and the lower atmospheres are comparable with that using the parameterizations separately for the middle and the lower atmospheres. The radiative effect of nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) is also examined. Parameterizations are presented for the N2O and CH4 diffuse transmission functions.

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