On shortwave radiation absorption in overcast atmospheres

K. K. Fung, V. Ramaswamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Using a numerical model of solar radiative transfer that is calibrated against benchmark computations, it is shown that atmospheric water vapor, together with the microphysical characteristics of water drops (liquid water path and effective radius), plays an important role in the total solar spectrum reflection and absorption in overcast skies. For any specific cloud type, the water vapor column above the cloud and the presence of saturated water vapor inside the cloud contribute significantly to atmospheric absorption. These factors also affect the relationship between the net shortwave fluxes at the top and bottom of overcast atmospheres, in particular, inhibiting a general universal linkage between these two quantities. Thus neglect of details concerning the vertical location, extent, and microphysical aspects of clouds can lead to biases in the inference of surface irradiance using top-of-the-atmosphere measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1999JD900457
Pages (from-to)22233-22241
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue numberD18
StatePublished - Sep 27 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology


Dive into the research topics of 'On shortwave radiation absorption in overcast atmospheres'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this