Radiative-convective model for one-dimensional cloudy atmosphere

Kaptan, Mehmet Yusuf
Recent emphasis on the prediction of temperature and concentration fields in the atmosphere has led to the investigation of accurate solution methods of the time-dependent conservation equations for mass, momentum, energy and species. Atmospheric radiation is the key component of this system. Therefore, atmospheric radiation models were developed in isolation from the climate models. The time-dependent multi-dimensional governing equations of atmospheric models must be solved in conjunction with the radiative transfer equation for accurate modeling of the atmosphere. In order to achieve this objective, a 1-D Radiative-Convective Model for Earth-Atmosphere System (RCM4EAS) was developed for clear and cloudy sky atmospheres. The radiative component of the code is Santa Barbara DISORT (Discrete Ordinate Radiative Transfer) Atmospheric Radiative Transfer (SBDART) integrated with exponential sum-fitting method as the radiative property estimation technique. The accuracy of SBDART was tested by comparing its predictions of radiative fluxes with those of Line-by-Line Radiative Transfer Model (LBLRTM) for 1-D longwave (3.33-100 µm) clear sky atmosphere and a good agreement was obtained. A parametric study aiming at finding the optimum parameters to be used as input in SBDART regarding the wavelength increment and order of approximation was also carried out. Variable wavelength and eight streams were selected as optimum parameters for the accuracy and computational efficiency. The code was then coupled with a 1-D Radiative-Convective Model (RCM) to obtain the time dependent code, (RCM4EAS), which was applied to the investigation of the sensitivity of climate to changes in the CO2 concentration for clear and cloudy sky conditions. CO2 sensitivity analyses revealed that doubling the CO2 concentration in the earth’s atmosphere from its present value (387 ppm) results in an increase in equilibrium surface temperature of 4.2 K in the clear sky atmosphere as opposed to 2.1 K in cloudy sky atmosphere with typical cloud physical parameters. It is worth noting that times required to reach equilibrium surface temperatures are approximately 2000 and 6000 days for clear and cloudy sky atmospheres, respectively and these temperature increases are calculated assuming that all the other parameters except CO2 concentration remain unchanged within these time periods. Therefore, it should be noted that these temperature increases reflect only the effect of CO2 doubling and excludes the effect of other forcings which might positively or negatively affect these temperature increases. Overall evaluation of the performance of the code developed in this thesis study indicates that it can be used with confidence in 1-D radiative-convective modeling of the earth-atmosphere systems.


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Citation Formats
M. Y. Kaptan, “Radiative-convective model for one-dimensional cloudy atmosphere,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2011.