Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 7, 8087-8111, 2007
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The influence of cloud top variability from radar measurements on 3-D radiative transfer
F. Richter1, K. Barfus1, F. H. Berger1,2, and U. Görsdorf2
1TU Dresden, Faculty of Forest, Geo and Hydro Sciences, Institute of Hydrology and Meteorology, Dresden, Germany
2German Meteorological Service, Lindenberg, Germany

Abstract. In radiative transfer simulations the simplification of cloud top structure by homogenous assumptions can breed to mistakes in comparison to realistic heterogeneous cloud top structures. This paper examines the influence of cloud top heterogeneity on the radiation at the top of the atmosphere. The use of cloud top measurements with a high temporal resolution allows to analyse small spatial cloud top heterogeneities by using the frozen turbulence assumption for the time – space conversion. Radiative observations are often based on satellite measurements, whereas small spatial structures are not considered in such treatments. A spectral analysis of the cloud top measurements showed slopes of power spectra between –1.8 and –2.0, this values are larger then the spectra of –5/3 which is often applied to generate cloud field variability. The comparison of 3-D radiative transfer results from cloud fields with homogenous and heterogeneous tops have been done for a single wavelength of 0.6 μm. The radiative transfer calculations result in lower albedos for heterogeneous cloud tops. The differences of albedos between heterogeneous and homogeneous cloud top decrease with increasing solar zenith angle. The influence of cloud top variability on radiances is shown. Explicitly in forward direction the reflectances for heterogeneous tops are larger, in backward direction lower. The largest difference of the mean reflectances (mean over cloud field) between homogeneous and heterogeneous cloud top is approximately 0.3, which is 30% of illumination.

Citation: Richter, F., Barfus, K., Berger, F. H., and Görsdorf, U.: The influence of cloud top variability from radar measurements on 3-D radiative transfer, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 7, 8087-8111, doi:10.5194/acpd-7-8087-2007, 2007.
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