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  1. Abstract

    Diffuse solar radiation is an important, but understudied, component of the Earth’s surface radiation budget, with most global climate models not archiving this variable and a dearth of ground-based observations. Here, we describe the development of a global 40-year (1980–2019) monthly database of total shortwave radiation, including its diffuse and direct beam components, called BaRAD (Bias-adjusted RADiation dataset). The dataset is based on a random forest algorithm trained using Global Energy Balance Archive (GEBA) observations and applied to the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, Version 2 (MERRA-2) dataset at the native MERRA-2 resolution (0.5° by 0.625°). The dataset preserves seasonal, latitudinal, and long-term trends in the MERRA-2 data, but with reduced biases than MERRA-2. The mean bias error is close to 0 (root mean square error = 10.1 W m−2) for diffuse radiation and −0.2 W m−2(root mean square error = 19.2 W m−2) for the total incoming shortwave radiation at the surface. Studies on atmosphere-biosphere interactions, especially those on the diffuse radiation fertilization effect, can benefit from this dataset.

  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  3. Abstract In this study, we investigate the air temperature response to land-use and land-cover change (LULCC; cropland expansion and deforestation) using subgrid land model output generated by a set of CMIP6 model simulations. Our study is motivated by the fact that ongoing land-use activities are occurring at local scales, typically significantly smaller than the resolvable scale of a grid cell in Earth system models. It aims to explore the potential for a multimodel approach to better characterize LULCC local climatic effects. On an annual scale, the CMIP6 models are in general agreement that croplands are warmer than primary and secondary land (psl; mainly forests, grasslands, and bare ground) in the tropics and cooler in the mid–high latitudes, except for one model. The transition from warming to cooling occurs at approximately 40°N. Although the surface heating potential, which combines albedo and latent heat flux effects, can explain reasonably well the zonal mean latitudinal subgrid temperature variations between crop and psl tiles in the historical simulations, it does not provide a good prediction on subgrid temperature for other land tile configurations (crop vs forest; grass vs forest) under Shared Socioeconomic Pathway 5–8.5 (SSP5–8.5) forcing scenarios. A subset of simulations with the CESM2more »model reveals that latitudinal subgrid temperature variation is positively related to variation in net surface shortwave radiation and negatively related to variation in the surface energy redistribution factor, with a dominant role from the latter south of 30°N. We suggest that this emergent relationship can be used to benchmark the performance of land surface parameterizations and for prediction of local temperature response to LULCC.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2024
  4. Abstract Though the partitioning of shortwave radiation ( K ↓ ) at the surface into its diffuse ( K ↓,d ) and direct beam ( K ↓,b ) components is relevant for, among other things, the terrestrial energy and carbon budgets, there is a dearth of large-scale comparisons of this partitioning across reanalysis and satellite-derived products. Here we evaluate K ↓ , K ↓,d , and K ↓,b , as well as the diffuse fraction ( k d ) of solar radiation in four current-generation reanalysis (NOAA-CIRES-DOE, NCEP/NCAR, MERRA-2, ERA5) datasets and one satellite-derived product (CERES) using ≈1400 site years of observations. Although the systematic positive biases in K ↓ is consistent with previous studies, the biases in gridded K ↓,d and K ↓,b vary in direction and magnitude, both annually and across seasons. The inter-model variability in cloud cover strongly explains the biases in both K ↓,d and K ↓,b . Over Europe and China, the long-term (10-year plus) trends in K ↓,d in the gridded products are noticeably differ from corresponding observations and the grid-averaged 35-year trends show an order of magnitude variability. In the MERRA-2 reanalysis, which includes both clouds and assimilated aerosols, the reduction in bothmore »clouds and aerosols reinforce each other to establish brightening trends over Europe, while the effect of increasing aerosols overwhelm the effect of decreasing cloud cover over China. The inter-model variability in k d seen here (0.27 to 0.50 from CERES to MERRA-2) suggests substantial differences in shortwave parameterization schemes and their inputs in climate models and can contribute to inter-model variability in coupled simulations. Based on these results, we call for systematic evaluations of K ↓,d and K ↓,b in CMIP6 models.« less
  5. Abstract. For the radiative impact of individual climate forcings,most previous studies focused on the global mean values at the top of theatmosphere (TOA), and less attention has been paid to surface processes,especially for black carbon (BC) aerosols. In this study, the surface radiativeresponses to five different forcing agents were analyzed by using idealizedmodel simulations. Our analyses reveal that for greenhouse gases, solarirradiance, and scattering aerosols, the surface temperature changes aremainly dictated by the changes of surface radiative heating, but for BC,surface energy redistribution between different components plays a morecrucial role. Globally, when a unit BC forcing is imposed at TOA, the netshortwave radiation at the surface decreases by -5.87±0.67 W m−2 (W m−2)−1 (averaged over global land without Antarctica), which ispartially offset by increased downward longwave radiation (2.32±0.38 W m−2 (W m−2)−1 from the warmer atmosphere, causing a netdecrease in the incoming downward surface radiation of -3.56±0.60 W m−2 (W m−2)−1. Despite a reduction in the downward radiationenergy, the surface air temperature still increases by 0.25±0.08 Kbecause of less efficient energy dissipation, manifested by reduced surfacesensible (-2.88±0.43 W m−2 (W m−2)−1) and latent heat flux(-1.54±0.27 W m−2 (W m−2)−1), as well as a decrease inBowen ratio (-0.20±0.07 (W m−2)−1). Such reductions of turbulentfluxes can be largely explained by enhanced air stability (0.07±0.02 K (W m−2)−1), measured as the difference of the potential temperaturebetween 925 hPa and surface,more »and reduced surface wind speed (-0.05±0.01 m s−1 (W m−2)−1). The enhanced stability is due to the fasteratmospheric warming relative to the surface, whereas the reduced wind speedcan be partially explained by enhanced stability and reduced Equator-to-poleatmospheric temperature gradient. These rapid adjustments under BC forcingoccur in the lower atmosphere and propagate downward to influence thesurface energy redistribution and thus surface temperature response, whichis not observed under greenhouse gases or scattering aerosols. Our studyprovides new insights into the impact of absorbing aerosols on surfaceenergy balance and surface temperature response.« less