Monday, 7 July 2014
The 24-hour cycle of solar insolation drives diurnal cycles in Earth system processes critical to climate: namely, radiation, convection, turbulence, and cloud processes. Cloud properties, temperature, radiative fluxes, and precipitation exhibit robust diurnal cycles as a result. The presence of these robust diurnal cycles fundamentally changes the time mean and variability of the TOA energy budget. Therefore, there is a need to understand the diurnal cycle contributions to the TOA energy budget in both observations and climate models. The first objective of this study is to quantify the diurnal cycle impact on the time mean and variability of the TOA energy budget in observationsdefined as the difference between TOA fluxes computed with diurnally uniform and diurnally varying cloud properties. The required observational input is observed from the combined Terra+Aqua Cloud and Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) data products ranging from June 2002 through October 2012. The second objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of known errors in the model diurnal cycle simulation on the time mean and variability of the TOA energy budget. The results indicate that (1) the diurnal cycle impacts on the regional time mean Tropical longwave and shortwave fluxes range from 1-3 W m^-2 and 5 25 W m^-2, respectively; (2) the diurnal cycle contributions to TOA flux variability exceeds 50% in land convective regions (e.g., central South America and central Africa);(3) the diurnal cycle contributions to the TOA shortwave and longwave flux time mean and variability in the CanAM4 GCM are too small in land convective regions due to errors in the diurnal distribution of convective cloudsgrid box errors exceed 100%.
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