While we have good knowledge of radiative fluxes at the top of the atmosphere and at specific surface sites, observations of atmospheric profiles of radiative heating, particularly in cloudy sky conditions, have been largely unavailable. Current estimates of cloudy sky radiative heating in the tropics are typically based on model simulations, residuals from total heat and moisture budgets, or satellite observations. The remote sensing observations taken at the Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program's sites on the islands of Nauru and Manus in the tropical western Pacific region provide a more direct method of calculating all sky heating rate profiles with high vertical and temporal resolution. We have calculated radiative heating rate profiles for several months at each of these sites using observed and retrieved inputs of water vapor, condensed water, phase, particle size, and mass.
In this paper, we present analysis of the components of the radiative energy budget at the ARM sites from the observed surface radiative fluxes, top of atmosphere fluxes from the Geostationary Meteorological Satellite (GMS), and the calculated vertical distribution of heating rates. We compare this radiative energy budget dataset to model output from the NCAR Community Atmosphere Model (CAM 3.0), and the Multi-Scale Modeling Framework (MMF). The models are run using observed sea surface temperature for this comparison. We find that the CAM generally has better agreement with the surface and top-of-atmosphere energy budgets, while the MMF shows better agreement with the vertical distribution of heating in the atmosphere.