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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 18, issue 6
Ann. Geophys., 18, 679–686, 2000
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-000-0679-5
© European Geosciences Union 2000
Ann. Geophys., 18, 679–686, 2000
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-000-0679-5
© European Geosciences Union 2000

  30 Jun 2000

30 Jun 2000

Effect of remote clouds on surface UV irradiance

M. Degünther and R. Meerkötter M. Degünther and R. Meerkötter
  • Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Wessling, Germany
  • e-mail: markus.deguenther@dir.de
  • Correspondence to: M. Degünther

Abstract. Clouds affect local surface UV irradiance, even if the horizontal distance from the radiation observation site amounts to several kilometers. In order to investigate this effect, which we call remote clouds effect, a 3-dimensional radiative transfer model is applied. Assuming the atmosphere is subdivided into a quadratic based sector and its surrounding, we quantify the influence of changing cloud coverage within this surrounding from 0% to 100% on surface UV irradiance at the sector center. To work out this remote clouds influence as a function of sector base size, we made some calculations for different sizes between 10 km × 10 km and 100 km × 100 km. It appears that in the case of small sectors (base size < 20 km × 20 km) the remote clouds effect is highly variable: Depending on cloud structure, solar zenith angle and wavelength, the surface UV irradiance may be enhanced up to 15% as well as reduced by more than 50%. In contrast, for larger sectors it is always the case that enhancements become smaller by 5% if sector base size exceeds 60 km × 60 km. However, these values are upper estimates of the remote cloud effects and they are found only for special cloud structures. Since these structures might occur but cannot be regarded as typical, different satellite observed cloud formations (horizontal resolution about 1 km × 1 km) have also been investigated. For these more common cloud distributions we find remote cloud effects to be distinctly smaller than the corresponding upper estimates, e.g., for a sector with base size of 25 km × 25 km the surface UV irradiance error due to ignoring the actual remote clouds and replacing their influence with periodic horizontal boundary conditions is less than 3%, whereas the upper estimate of remote clouds effect would suggest an error close to 10%.

Key words: Atmospheric composition and structure (transmission and scattering of radiation) - Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics (radiative process)

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