A sea surface radiation data set for climate applications in the tropical western Pacific and South China Sea


  • Ming-Dah Chou,

  • Pui-King Chan,

  • Michael M.-H. Yan


The sea surface shortwave and longwave radiative fluxes have been retrieved from the radiances measured by Japan's Geostationary Meteorological Satellite 5. The surface radiation data set covers the domain 40°S-40°N and 90°E–170°W and a period starting from January 1998. The temporal resolution is 1 day, and the spatial resolution is 0.5°×0.5° latitude-longitude. The retrieved surface radiation has been validated with the radiometric measurements at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) site on Manus Island in the equatorial western Pacific. It has also been validated with the measurements at the radiation site on Dungsha Island during the South China Sea Monsoon Experiment (SCSMEX) (May and June 1998). The data set is used to study the effect of El Niño and East Asian summer monsoon on the heating of the ocean. Interannual variations of clouds associated with El Niño and the East Asian summer monsoon have a large impact on the radiative heating of the ocean, exceeding 40 W m−2 in seasonal mean over large areas. Together with the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) shortwave fluxes at the top of the atmosphere and the radiative transfer calculations of clear-sky fluxes, this surface radiation data set is also used to study the impact of clouds on the solar heating of the atmosphere. It is found that clouds enhance the atmospheric solar heating by ∼21 W m−2 in the tropical western Pacific and the South China Sea.