Atmospheric downwelling longwave radiation at the surface during cloudless and overcast conditions. Measurements and modeling

Viúdez-Mora, Antoni
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Atmospheric downwelling longwave radiation is an important component of the terrestrial energy budget; since it is strongly related with the greenhouse effect, it remarkably affects the climate. In this study, I evaluate the estimation of the downwelling longwave irradiance at the terrestrial surface for cloudless and overcast conditions using a one-dimensional radiative transfer model (RTM), specifically the Santa Barbara DISORT Atmospheric Radiative Transfer (SBDART). The calculations performed by using this model were compared with pyrgeometer measurements at three different European places: Girona (NE of the Iberian Peninsula), Payerne (in the East of Switzerland), and Heselbach (in the Black Forest, Germany). Several studies of sensitivity based on the radiative transfer model have shown that special attention on the input of temperature and water content profiles must be held for cloudless sky conditions; for overcast conditions, similar sensitivity studies have shown that, besides the atmospheric profiles, the cloud base height is very relevant, at least for optically thick clouds. Also, the estimation of DLR in places where radiosoundings are not available is explored, either by using the atmospheric profiles spatially interpolated from the gridded analysis data provided by European Centre of Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF), or by applying a real radiosounding of a nearby site. Calculations have been compared with measurements at all sites. During cloudless sky conditions, when radiosoundings were available, calculations show differences with measurements of -2.7 ± 3.4 Wm-2 (Payerne). While no in situ radiosoundings are available, differences between modeling and measurements were about 0.3 ± 9.4 Wm-2 (Girona). During overcast sky conditions, when in situ radiosoundings and cloud properties (derived from an algorithm that uses spectral infrared and microwave ground based measurements) were available (Black Forest), calculations show differences with measurements of -0.28 ± 2.52 Wm2. When using atmospheric profiles from the ECMWF and fixed values of liquid water path and droplet effective radius (Girona) calculations show differences with measurements of 4.0 ± 2.5 Wm2. For all analyzed sky conditions, it has been confirmed that estimations from radiative transfer modeling are remarkably better than those obtained by simple parameterizations of atmospheric emissivity. ​
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