- Working Paper
Clouds represent a major source of uncertainty in understanding climate change, because potential changes in the way they affect the atmospheric and surface energy budget are difficult to predict. It is therefore important to determine how clouds affect radiation. Stratiform clouds in particular have an important effect on climate as they cover large areas. This article presents results of radiation transfer calculations with MODTRANTM for well-defined stratus cloud cases detected at the meteorological station of Payerne, Switzerland. These stratus situations are selected in a data set covering the years from 2000 to 2005 with a method using data widely available at national meteorological observing stations. For 18 single layer stratus situations the shortwave radiation fluxes calculated with MODTRANTM are compared to surface observations from the Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN) site at Payerne and top of atmosphere (TOA) observations from the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) experiment. A median bias on the order of 20 Wm−2 (<9%) was found for the differences between modeled and observed reflected solar radiation at TOA. At the surface, good agreement is obtained by adjusting the vertical extinction in the modeled cloud layer within reasonable limits for a stratus cloud: The median bias of modeled minus observed shortwave downward radiation is well within instrument precision (<1%). The simultaneous agreement of modeled and observed radiation fluxes at the surface and TOA confirmed that radiation transfer in the atmosphere including a single cloud layer can be well simulated with MODTRANTM. Based on the present results, the absorbance was calculated within the stratus cloud layer (cloud base to cloud top). For the 18 single stratus layer situations the median absorbance is 0.07 [minimum 0.04, maximum 0.1], the median transmittance is 0.29 [0.15 0.39], and the median cloud reflectance is 0.70 [0.63, 0.80] Show more
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Journal / seriesAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions
Pages / Article No.
Organisational unit03208 - Ohmura, Atsumu
03778 - Seneviratne, Sonia / Seneviratne, Sonia
NotesReceived 26 March 2008, Accepted 7 May 2008.
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