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Radiative effect differences between multi-layered and single-layer clouds...

Li, J., Y. Yi, P. Minnis, J. Huang, H. Yan, Y. Ma, W. Wang, and K. Ayers (2011), Radiative effect differences between multi-layered and single-layer clouds derived from CERES, CALIPSO, and CloudSat data, J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transfer, 112, 361-375, doi:10.1016/j.jqsrt.2010.10.006.

Clouds alter general circulation through modification of the radiative heating profile within the atmosphere. Their effects are complex and depend on height, vertical structure, and phase. The instantaneous cloud radiative effect (CRE) induced by multilayered (ML) and single-layer (SL) clouds is estimated by analyzing data collected by the Cloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO), CloudSat, and Clouds and Earth’s Radiation Energy Budget System (CERES) missions from March 2007 through February 2008. The CRE differences between ML and SL clouds at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) and at the surface were also examined. The zonal mean shortwave (SW) CRE differences between the ML and SL clouds at the TOA and surface were positive at most latitudes, peaking at 120 W m -2 in the tropics and dropping to -30 W m -2 at higher latitudes. This indicated that the ML clouds usually reflected less sunlight at the TOA and transmitted more to the surface than the SL clouds, due to their higher cloud top heights. The zonal mean longwave (LW) CRE differences between ML and SL clouds at the TOA and surface were relatively small, ranging from -30 to 30 W m -2. This showed that the ML clouds only increased the amount of thermal radiation at the TOA relative to the SL clouds in the tropics, decreasing it elsewhere. In other words, ML clouds tended to cool the atmosphere in the tropics and warm it elsewhere when compared to SL clouds. The zonal mean net CRE differences were positive at most latitudes and dominated by the SW CRE differences.

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Modeling Analysis and Prediction Program (MAP)
Radiation Science Program (RSP)