An Improved Ocean Surface Albedo Computational Scheme: Structure and Performance

Understanding the solar energy exchange between the atmosphere and the ocean is of primary importance in enhancing our ability to determine the radiative energy budget of the Earth. To describe the energy transport precisely, it is necessary to study ocean surface albedo (OSA), the ratio of the upward radiation to the downward counterpart just above the air-sea interface. Oversimplified OSA algorithms in climate models lead to greatly varying estimates of how changes in reflected sunlight affect the global energy balance. A recent peer-reviewed study that includes AER Principal Scientist Eli Mlawer detailed an improved OSA computational scheme with an appropriate treatment of the ocean surface chlorophyll concentration-based inherent optical properties of the water column, which is implemented for the General Circulation Model applications of the shortwave rapid radiative transfer model RRTMG_SW developed by AER scientists. The new OSA scheme shows robust performance compared to the in-situ measurements from the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) Ocean Validation Experiment on a regional scale, and the CERES surface fluxes products on a global scale. This scheme is expected to reduce uncertainties in the modeling of the energy budget of the coupled atmosphere-ocean system.



 Figure Caption: For March to May 2019, scatterplots of the global monthly mean CERES ocean surface albedo vs. the albedo estimation by the scheme developed in this study for (a) clear sky and (b) all sky conditions.

Citation:  An Improved Ocean Surface Albedo Computational Scheme: Structure and Performance

J.Wei, T. Ren, P. Yang, S.F. DiMarco, E. Mlawer

Web Link:  Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 126:8, e2020JC016958,

Ph.D., Senior Manager Scientist