Tripleclouds: an efficient method for representing horizontal cloud inhomogeneity in 1D radiation schemes by using three regions at each height
Shonk, J. K.P. and Hogan, R. J. (2008) Tripleclouds: an efficient method for representing horizontal cloud inhomogeneity in 1D radiation schemes by using three regions at each height. Journal of Climate, 21 (11). pp. 2352-2370. ISSN 1520-0442
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/2007JCLI1940.1
Radiation schemes in general circulation models currently make a number of simplifications when accounting for clouds, one of the most important being the removal of horizontal inhomogeneity. A new scheme is presented that attempts to account for the neglected inhomogeneity by using two regions of cloud in each vertical level of the model as opposed to one. One of these regions is used to represent the optically thinner cloud in the level, and the other represents the optically thicker cloud. So, along with the clear-sky region, the scheme has three regions in each model level and is referred to as “Tripleclouds.” In addition, the scheme has the capability to represent arbitrary vertical overlap between the three regions in pairs of adjacent levels. This scheme is implemented in the Edwards–Slingo radiation code and tested on 250 h of data from 12 different days. The data are derived from cloud retrievals using radar, lidar, and a microwave radiometer at Chilbolton, southern United Kingdom. When the data are grouped into periods equivalent in size to general circulation model grid boxes, the shortwave plane-parallel albedo bias is found to be 8%, while the corresponding bias is found to be less than 1% using Tripleclouds. Similar results are found for the longwave biases. Tripleclouds is then compared to a more conventional method of accounting for inhomogeneity that multiplies optical depths by a constant scaling factor, and Tripleclouds is seen to improve on this method both in terms of top-of-atmosphere radiative flux biases and internal heating rates.