Annual Cycle of Radiation Fluxes over the Arctic Ocean: Sensitivity to Cloud Optical Properties

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  • 1 Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 Bureau of Meteorology Research, Melbourne, Australia
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Abstract

The relationship between cloud optical properties and the radiative fluxes over the Arctic Ocean is explored by conducting a series of modeling experiments. The annual cycle of arctic cloud optical properties that are required to reproduce both the outgoing radiative fluxes at the top of the atmosphere as determined from satellite observations and the available determinations of surface radiative fluxes are derived. Existing data on cloud fraction and cloud microphysical properties are utilized. Four types of cloud are considered: low stratus clouds, midlevel clouds, cirrus clouds, and wintertime ice crystal precipitation. Internally consistent annual cycles of surface temperature, surface albedo, cloud fraction and cloud optical properties, components of surface and top of atmosphere radiative fluxes, and cloud radiative forcing are presented.

The modeled total cloud optical depth (weighted by cloud fraction) ranges from a low value in winter of 2 to a high summertime value of 8. Infrared emmissivities for liquid water clouds are shown to be substantiafly less than unity during the cold half of the year. Values of modeled surface cloud radiative forcing are positive except for two weeks in midsummer; over the course of the year clouds have a net warning effect on the surface in the Arctic. Total cloud radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere is determined to be positive only briefly in early autumn. Surface longwave fluxes are shown to be very sensitive to the presence of lower-tropospheric ice crystal precipitation during the cold half of the year.

Abstract

The relationship between cloud optical properties and the radiative fluxes over the Arctic Ocean is explored by conducting a series of modeling experiments. The annual cycle of arctic cloud optical properties that are required to reproduce both the outgoing radiative fluxes at the top of the atmosphere as determined from satellite observations and the available determinations of surface radiative fluxes are derived. Existing data on cloud fraction and cloud microphysical properties are utilized. Four types of cloud are considered: low stratus clouds, midlevel clouds, cirrus clouds, and wintertime ice crystal precipitation. Internally consistent annual cycles of surface temperature, surface albedo, cloud fraction and cloud optical properties, components of surface and top of atmosphere radiative fluxes, and cloud radiative forcing are presented.

The modeled total cloud optical depth (weighted by cloud fraction) ranges from a low value in winter of 2 to a high summertime value of 8. Infrared emmissivities for liquid water clouds are shown to be substantiafly less than unity during the cold half of the year. Values of modeled surface cloud radiative forcing are positive except for two weeks in midsummer; over the course of the year clouds have a net warning effect on the surface in the Arctic. Total cloud radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere is determined to be positive only briefly in early autumn. Surface longwave fluxes are shown to be very sensitive to the presence of lower-tropospheric ice crystal precipitation during the cold half of the year.

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