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Cloud Radiative Forcing at Summit, Greenland
  • Published Date:
  • Source:
    Journal of Climate, 28(15), 6267-6280.
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  • Description:
    The surface energy budget plays a critical role in determining the mass balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which in turn has significant implications for global sea levels. Nearly three years of data (January 2011-October 2013) are used to characterize the annual cycle of surface radiative fluxes and cloud radiative forcing (CRF) from the central Greenland Ice Sheet at Summit Station. The annual average CRF is 33 W m(-2), representing a substantial net cloud warming of the central Greenland surface. Unlike at other Arctic sites, clouds warm the surface during the summer. The surface albedo is high at Summit throughout the year, limiting the cooling effect of the shortwave CRF and thus the total CRF is dominated by cloud longwave warming effects in all months. All monthly mean CRF values are positive (warming), as are 98.5% of 3-hourly cases. The annual cycle of CRF is largely driven by the occurrence of liquid-bearing clouds, with a minimum in spring and maximum in late summer. Optically thick liquid-bearing clouds [liquid water path (LWP) > 30 g m(-2)] produce an average longwave CRF of 85 W m(-2). Shortwave CRF is sensitive to solar zenith angle and LWP. When the sun is well above the horizon (solar zenith angle < 65 degrees), a maximum cloud surface warming occurs in the presence of optically thin liquid-bearing clouds. Ice clouds occur frequently above Summit and have mean longwave CRF values ranging from 10 to 60 W m(-2), dependent on cloud thickness.
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