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Overview of observations from the RADAGAST experiment in Niamey, Niger: 2. Radiative fluxes and divergences

Slingo, A., White, H. E., Bharmal, N. A. and Robinson, G. J. (2009) Overview of observations from the RADAGAST experiment in Niamey, Niger: 2. Radiative fluxes and divergences. Journal of Geophysical Research, 114. D00E04. ISSN 0148-0227

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1029/2008JD010497

Abstract/Summary

Broadband shortwave and longwave radiative fluxes observed both at the surface and from space during the Radiative Atmospheric Divergence using ARM Mobile Facility, GERB data and AMMA Stations (RADAGAST) experiment in Niamey, Niger, in 2006 are presented. The surface fluxes were measured by the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program Mobile Facility (AMF) at Niamey airport, while the fluxes at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) are from the Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget (GERB) instrument on the Meteosat-8 satellite. The data are analyzed as daily averages, in order to minimize sampling differences between the surface and top of atmosphere instruments, while retaining the synoptic and seasonal changes that are the main focus of this study. A cloud mask is used to identify days with cloud versus those with predominantly clear skies. The influence of temperature, water vapor, aerosols, and clouds is investigated. Aerosols are ubiquitous throughout the year and have a significant impact on both the shortwave and longwave fluxes. The large and systematic seasonal changes in temperature and column integrated water vapor (CWV) through the dry and wet seasons are found to exert strong influences on the longwave fluxes. These influences are often in opposition to each other, because the highest temperatures occur at the end of the dry season when the CWV is lowest, while in the wet season the lowest temperatures are associated with the highest values of CWV. Apart from aerosols, the shortwave fluxes are also affected by clouds and by the seasonal changes in CWV. The fluxes are combined to provide estimates of the divergence of radiation across the atmosphere throughout 2006. The longwave divergence shows a relatively small variation through the year, because of a partial compensation between the seasonal variations in the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) and surface net longwave radiation. A simple model of the greenhouse effect is used to interpret this result in terms of the dependence of the normalized greenhouse effect at the TOA and of the effective emissivity of the atmosphere at the surface on the CWV. It is shown that, as the CWV increases, the atmosphere loses longwave energy to the surface with about the same increasing efficiency with which it traps the OLR. When combined with the changes in temperature, this maintains the atmospheric longwave divergence within the narrow range that is observed. The shortwave divergence is mainly determined by the CWV and aerosol loadings and the effect of clouds is much smaller than on the component fluxes.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:5895
Uncontrolled Keywords:radagast; amma; atmospheric radiation Radiation: transmission and scattering Tropical meteorology Clouds and aerosols Africa
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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