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Separating the shortwave and longwave components of greenhouse gas radiative forcing

Shine, K. P. ORCID:, Byrom, R. E. ORCID: and Checa‐Garcia, R. ORCID: (2022) Separating the shortwave and longwave components of greenhouse gas radiative forcing. Atmospheric Science Letters, 23 (10). e1116. ISSN 1530-261X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/asl.1116


Many important greenhouse gases (including water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and ozone) absorb solar radiation. When gas concentrations change, this absorption exerts a radiative forcing that modifies the thermal infrared (‘longwave’) radiative forcing which is predominant for most gases (ozone being a major exception). The nature of the solar forcing differs from the longwave forcing in several ways. For example, the sign of the instantaneous solar forcing can differ between the tropopause and top-of-atmosphere, and the sign can differ between gases. In addition, a significant part of the solar forcing can be manifested in the longwave, following stratospheric temperature adjustment, which can counteract or enhance the instantaneous solar forcing. Here the nature of solar forcing is examined via a mixture of idealised and more realistic calculations, which consider the effect of perturbations in carbon dioxide, methane and ozone. An apparent contradiction in the sign of the solar forcing of carbon dioxide is resolved; it is shown to be negative, reducing the net carbon dioxide forcing by about 2.3%. The relevance of this work to the effective radiative forcing concept is also discussed.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:105665
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society


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