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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 8
Ann. Geophys., 14, 845–852, 1996
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-996-0845-5
© European Geosciences Union 1996
Ann. Geophys., 14, 845–852, 1996
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-996-0845-5
© European Geosciences Union 1996

  31 Aug 1996

31 Aug 1996

The influence of cloud structure and droplet concentration on the reflectance of shortwave radiation

P. F. Coley and P. R. Jonas P. F. Coley and P. R. Jonas

Abstract. The effects of cloud shadowing, channelling, cloud side illumination and droplet concentration are investigated with regard to the reflection of shortwave solar radiation. Using simple geometric clouds, coupled with a Monte Carlo model the transmission properties of idealized cloud layers are found. The clouds are illuminated with direct solar radiation from above. The main conclusion reached is that the distribution of the cloud has a very large influence on the reflectivity of a cloud layer. In particular, if the cloud contains vertical gaps through the cloud layer in which the liquid water content is zero, then, smaller more numerous gaps are more influential on the radiation than fewer, larger gaps with equal cloud fraction. At very low solar zenith angles channelling of the radiation reduces the reflection expected on the basis of the percentage cloud cover. At high solar zenith angles the illumination of the cloud edges significantly increases the reflection despite the shadowing of one cloud by another when the width of the gaps is small. The impact of droplet concentration upon the reflection of cloud layers is also investigated. It is found that at low solar zenith angles where channelling is important, the lower concentrations increase the transmission. Conversely, when cloud edge illumination is dominant the cloud distribution is found to be more important for the higher concentrations.

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