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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-15
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-15
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Model description paper 26 Feb 2019

Model description paper | 26 Feb 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).

Developing a monthly albedo change radiative forcing kernel from satellite climatologies of Earth's shortwave radiation budget: CACK v1.0

Ryan M. Bright1 and Thomas L. O'Halloran2,3 Ryan M. Bright and Thomas L. O'Halloran
  • 1Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Ås, Norway
  • 2Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA
  • 3Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science, Clemson University, Georgetown, South Carolina, USA

Abstract. Due to the potential for land use/land cover change (LULCC) to alter surface albedo, there is need within the LULCC science community for simple and transparent tools for predicting radiative forcings (dF) from surface albedo changes (da). To that end, the radiative kernel technique – developed by the climate modeling community to diagnose internal feedbacks within general circulation models (GCMs) – has been adopted by the LULCC science community as a tool to perform offline dF calculations for da. However, the GCM codes are not readily transparent and the atmospheric state variables used as model input are limited to single years, thus being sensitive to anomalous weather conditions that may have occurred in those simulated years. Observation-based kernels founded on longer-term climatologies of Earth's atmospheric state offer an attractive alternative to GCM-based kernels and could be updated annually at relatively low costs. Here, we evaluate simplified models of shortwave radiative transfer as candidates for an albedo change kernel founded on the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) Energy Balance and Filled (EBAF) products. We find that a new, simple model supported by statistical analyses gives remarkable agreement when benchmarked to the mean of four GCM kernels and to two GCM kernels following emulation with their own boundary fluxes as input. Our findings lend support to its candidacy as a satellite-based alternative to GCM kernels and to its application in land-climate studies.

Ryan M. Bright and Thomas L. O'Halloran
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Status: open (until 23 Apr 2019)
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Ryan M. Bright and Thomas L. O'Halloran
Ryan M. Bright and Thomas L. O'Halloran
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Latest update: 18 Mar 2019
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Short summary
To determine the effects of land cover change on climate, researchers must be able to quantify the net change in energy (radiation) at the top of the atmosphere caused by changes in surface reflectance (albedo). Historically, this was done with sophisticated models that require specialized input datasets only available to specialists. Here we combine existing datasets and a new parameterization to create a new model that is accurate and more accessible.
To determine the effects of land cover change on climate, researchers must be able to quantify...
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