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An estimate of the global impact of multiple scattering by clouds on outgoing long-wave radiation

Costa, S. M. S. and Shine, K. P. (2006) An estimate of the global impact of multiple scattering by clouds on outgoing long-wave radiation. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 132 (616). pp. 885-895. ISSN 1477-870X

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Abstract/Summary

Although the potential importance of scattering of long-wave radiation by clouds has been recognised, most studies have concentrated on the impact of high clouds and few estimates of the global impact of scattering have been presented. This study shows that scattering in low clouds has a significant impact on outgoing long-wave radiation (OLR) in regions of marine stratocumulus (-3.5 W m(-2) for overcast conditions) where the column water vapour is relatively low. This corresponds to an enhancement of the greenhouse effect of such clouds by 10%. The near-global impact of scattering on OLR is estimated to be -3.0 W m(-2), with low clouds contributing -0.9 W m(-2), mid-level cloud -0.7 W m(-2) and high clouds -1.4 W m(-2). Although this effect appears small compared to the global mean OLR of 240 W m(-2), it indicates that neglect of scattering will lead to an error in cloud long-wave forcing of about 10% and an error in net cloud forcing of about 20%.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:5269
Uncontrolled Keywords:cirrus infrared scattering long-wave cloud forcing stratocumulus CLIMATE MODELS CIRRUS CLOUDS PARAMETERIZATION PARTICLES BUDGET
Additional Information:Part A
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society

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