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Intercomparison of shortwave radiative transfer schemes in global aerosol modeling: Results from the AeroCom Radiative Transfer Experiment


Kinne,  Stefan
Observations and Process Studies, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Randles, C., Kinne, S., Myhre, G., Schulz, M., Stier, P., Fischer, J., et al. (2013). Intercomparison of shortwave radiative transfer schemes in global aerosol modeling: Results from the AeroCom Radiative Transfer Experiment. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 13, 2347-2379. doi:10.5194/acp-13-2347-2013.

In this study we examine the performance of 31 global model radiative transfer schemes in cloud-free conditions with prescribed gaseous absorbers and no aerosols (Rayleigh atmosphere), with prescribed scattering-only aerosols, and with more absorbing aerosols. Results are compared to benchmark results from high-resolution, multi-angular line-by-line radiation models. For purely scattering aerosols, model bias relative to the line-by-line models in the top-of-the atmosphere aerosol radiative forcing ranges from roughly-10 to 20%, with over-and underestimates of radiative cooling at lower and higher solar zenith angle, respectively. Inter-model diversity (relative standard deviation) increases from ∼10 to 15% as solar zenith angle decreases. Inter-model diversity in atmospheric and surface forcing decreases with increased aerosol absorption, indicating that the treatment of multiple-scattering is more variable than aerosol absorption in the models considered. Aerosol radiative forcing results from multi-stream models are generally in better agreement with the line-by-line results than the simpler two-stream schemes. Considering radiative fluxes, model performance is generally the same or slightly better than results from previous radiation scheme intercomparisons. However, the inter-model diversity in aerosol radiative forcing remains large, primarily as a result of the treatment of multiple-scattering. Results indicate that global models that estimate aerosol radiative forcing with two-stream radiation schemes may be subject to persistent biases introduced by these schemes, particularly for regional aerosol forcing. © 2013 Author(s).