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Contributions of Clouds, Surface Albedos, and Mixed-Phase Ice Nucleation...

English, J. M., J. E. Kay, A. Gettelman, X. Liu, Y. Wang, Y. Zhang, and H. Chepfer (2014), Contributions of Clouds, Surface Albedos, and Mixed-Phase Ice Nucleation Schemes to Arctic Radiation Biases in CAM5, J. Climate, 27, 5174-5197, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00608.1.

The Arctic radiation balance is strongly affected by clouds and surface albedo. Prior work has identified Arctic cloud liquid water path (LWP) and surface radiative flux biases in the Community Atmosphere Model, version 5 (CAM5), and reductions to these biases with improved mixed-phase ice nucleation schemes. Here, CAM5 net top-of-atmosphere (TOA) Arctic radiative flux biases are quantified along with the contributions of clouds, surface albedos, and new mixed-phase ice nucleation schemes to these biases. CAM5 net TOA allsky shortwave (SW) and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) fluxes are generally within 10 W m22 of Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System Energy Balanced and Filled (CERES-EBAF) observations. However, CAM5 has compensating SW errors: Surface albedos over snow are too high while cloud amount and LWP are too low. Use of a new CAM5 Cloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) lidar simulator that corrects an error in the treatment of snow crystal size confirms insufficient cloud amount in CAM5 year-round. CAM5 OLR is too low because of low surface temperature in winter, excessive atmospheric water vapor in summer, and excessive cloud heights year-round. Simulations with two new mixed-phase ice nucleation schemes—one based on an empirical fit to ice nuclei observations and one based on classical nucleation theory with prognostic ice nuclei—improve surface climate in winter by increasing cloud amount and LWP. However, net TOA and surface radiation biases remain because of increases in midlevel clouds and a persistent deficit in cloud LWP. These findings highlight challenges with evaluating and modeling Arctic cloud, radiation, and climate processes.

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