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METEOROLOGICAL APPLICATIONS Meteorol. Appl. 18: 324333 (2011)

Meteorol. Appl. 18: 324333 (2011)
Published online in Wiley Online Library
(wileyonlinelibrary.com) DOI: 10.1002/met.285
Combining satellite data and models to estimate cloud
radiative effect at the surface and in the atmosphere
Richard P. Allan*
Department of Meteorology/National Centre for Atmospheric Science, School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, University of Reading,
Reading, Berks RG6 6AL, UK
ABSTRACT: Satellite measurements and numerical forecast model reanalysis data are used to compute an updated estimate
of the cloud radiative effect on the global multi-annual mean radiative energy budget of the atmosphere and surface. The
cloud radiative cooling effect through reflection of short wave radiation dominates over the long wave heating effect,
resulting in a net cooling of the climate system of -21 Wm-2
. The short wave radiative effect of cloud is primarily
manifest as a reduction in the solar radiation absorbed at the surface of -53 Wm-2
. Clouds impact long wave radiation
by heating the moist tropical atmosphere (up to around 40 Wm-2
for global annual means) while enhancing the radiative
cooling of the atmosphere over other regions, in particular higher latitudes and sub-tropical marine stratocumulus regimes.
While clouds act to cool the climate system during the daytime, the cloud greenhouse effect heats the climate system


Source: Allan, Richard P. - Department of Meteorology, University of Reading


Collections: Geosciences