Improvements of top-of-atmosphere and surface irradiance computations with CALIPSO-, CloudSat-, and MODIS-derived cloud and aerosol properties

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Abstract

[1] One year of instantaneous top-of-atmosphere (TOA) and surface shortwave and longwave irradiances are computed using cloud and aerosol properties derived from instruments on the A-Train Constellation: the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) on the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) satellite, the CloudSat Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR), and the Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS). When modeled irradiances are compared with those computed with cloud properties derived from MODIS radiances by a Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) cloud algorithm, the global and annual mean of modeled instantaneous TOA irradiances decreases by 12.5 W m−2 (5.0%) for reflected shortwave and 2.5 W m−2 (1.1%) for longwave irradiances. As a result, the global annual mean of instantaneous TOA irradiances agrees better with CERES-derived irradiances to within 0.5W m−2 (out of 237.8 W m−2) for reflected shortwave and 2.6W m−2 (out of 240.1 W m−2) for longwave irradiances. In addition, the global annual mean of instantaneous surface downward longwave irradiances increases by 3.6 W m−2 (1.0%) when CALIOP- and CPR-derived cloud properties are used. The global annual mean of instantaneous surface downward shortwave irradiances also increases by 8.6 W m−2 (1.6%), indicating that the net surface irradiance increases when CALIOP- and CPR-derived cloud properties are used. Increasing the surface downward longwave irradiance is caused by larger cloud fractions (the global annual mean by 0.11, 0.04 excluding clouds with optical thickness less than 0.3) and lower cloud base heights (the global annual mean by 1.6 km). The increase of the surface downward longwave irradiance in the Arctic exceeds 10 W m−2 (∼4%) in winter because CALIOP and CPR detect more clouds in comparison with the cloud detection by the CERES cloud algorithm during polar night. The global annual mean surface downward longwave irradiance of 345.4 W m−2 is estimated by combining the modeled instantaneous surface longwave irradiance computed with CALIOP and CPR cloud profiles with the global annual mean longwave irradiance from the CERES product (AVG), which includes the diurnal variation of the irradiance. The estimated bias error is −1.5 W m−2 and the uncertainty is 6.9 W m−2. The uncertainty is predominately caused by the near-surface temperature and column water vapor amount uncertainties.

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