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TitleInfluence of absorbing aerosols on the inference of solar surface radiation budget and cloud absorption
AuthorLi, Z
SourceJournal of Climate vol. 11, no. 1, 1998 p. 5-17,<0005:IOAAOT>2.0.CO;2
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20181025
PublisherAmerican Meteorological Society
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
Subjectsgeophysics; remote sensing
ProgramCanada Centre for Remote Sensing Divsion
Released1998 01 01
AbstractThis study addresses the impact of absorbing aerosols on the solar surface radiation budget (SSRB) and on the inference of cloud absorption using multiple global datasets. The data pertain to the radiation budgets at the top of the atmosphere (TOA), at the surface, and to precipitation and tropical biomass burning. Satellite-based SSRB data were derived from the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment and the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Program using different inversion algorithms. A manifestation of the aerosol effect emerges from a zonal comparison between satellite-based and surface-observed SSRB, which shows good agreement in most regions except over the tropical continents active in biomass burning. Another indication arises from the variation of the ratio of cloud radiative forcing at the TOA and at the surface, which was used in many recent studies addressing the cloud absorption problem. The author's studies showed that the ratio is around unity under most circumstances except when there is heavy urban/industrial pollution or fires. These exceptions register discrepancy between observed and modeled SSRB. The discrepancy is found to increase with decreasing cloudiness, implying that it has more to do with the treatment of aerosols than clouds, although minor influences by other factors may also exist. The largest discrepancy is observed in the month of minimal cloud cover and maximal aerosol loading. The corresponding maximum monthly mean aerosol optical thickness is estimated to be around 1.0 by a parameterization developed in this study. After the effects of aerosols on SSRB are accounted for using biomass burining and precipitation data, disagreements no longer exist between the theory and observation with regard to the transfer of solar radiation. It should be pointed out that the tropical data employed in this study are limited to a small number of continental sites.

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