Brookhaven National Laboratory, Bldg. 815E, Upton, NY11973, USA
Received: 20 Jan 2011 – Discussion started: 16 Feb 2011
Abstract. This paper focuses on three interconnected topics: (1) quantitative relationship between surface shortwave cloud radiative forcing, cloud fraction, and cloud albedo; (2) surface-based approach for measuring cloud albedo; (3) multiscale (diurnal, annual and inter-annual) variations and covariations of surface shortwave cloud radiative forcing, cloud fraction, and cloud albedo. An analytical expression is first derived to quantify the relationship between cloud radiative forcing, cloud fraction, and cloud albedo. The analytical expression is then used to deduce a new approach for inferring cloud albedo from concurrent surface-based measurements of downwelling surface shortwave radiation and cloud fraction. High-resolution decade-long data on cloud albedos are obtained by use of this surface-based approach over the US Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiaton Measurement (ARM) Program at the Great Southern Plains (SGP) site. The surface-based cloud albedos are further compared against those derived from the coincident GOES satellite measurements. The three long-term (1997–2009) sets of hourly data on shortwave cloud radiative forcing, cloud fraction and cloud albedo collected over the SGP site are analyzed to explore the multiscale (diurnal, annual and inter-annual) variations and covariations. The analytical formulation is useful for diagnosing deficiencies of cloud-radiation parameterizations in climate models.
Revised: 09 Jul 2011 – Accepted: 11 Jul 2011 – Published: 21 Jul 2011
Liu, Y., Wu, W., Jensen, M. P., and Toto, T.: Relationship between cloud radiative forcing, cloud fraction and cloud albedo, and new surface-based approach for determining cloud albedo, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 7155-7170, doi:10.5194/acp-11-7155-2011, 2011.