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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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%.