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Journal article

The effect of optically thin cirrus clouds on solar radiation in Camaguey, Cuba

Barja B, Antuña J, Antuna J...(+3 more)

ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS, vol. 11, issue 16 (2011) pp. 8625-8634

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Abstract

The effect of optically thin cirrus clouds on solar radiation is
analyzed by numerical simulation, using lidar measurements of cirrus
conducted at Camaguey, Cuba. Sign and amplitude of the cirrus clouds
effect on solar radiation is evaluated. There is a relation between the
solar zenith angle and solar cirrus cloud radiative forcing (SCRF)
present in the diurnal cycle of the SCRF. Maximums of SCRF out of noon
located at the cirrus cloud base height are found for the thin and
opaque cirrus clouds. The cirrus clouds optical depth (COD) threshold
for having double SCRF maximum out of noon instead of a single one at
noon was 0.083. In contrast, the heating rate shows a maximum at noon in
the location of cirrus clouds maximum extinction values. Cirrus clouds
have a cooling effect in the solar spectrum at the Top of the Atmosphere
(TOA) and at the surface (SFC). The daily mean value of SCRF has an
average value of -9.1 W m(-2) at TOA and -5.6 W m(-2) at SFC. The cirrus
clouds also have a local heating effect on the atmospheric layer where
they are located. Cirrus clouds have mean daily values of heating rates
of 0.63 K day(-1) with a range between 0.35 K day(-1) and 1.24 K
day(-1). The principal effect is in the near-infrared spectral band of
the solar spectrum. There is a linear relation between SCRF and COD,
with -30 W m(-2) COD(-1) and -26 W m(-2) COD(-1), values for the slopes
of the fits at the TOA and SFC, respectively, in the broadband solar
spectrum.

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