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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 4587-4600, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-10-4587-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
30 Nov 2017
Cloud radiative effect, cloud fraction and cloud type at two stations in Switzerland using hemispherical sky cameras
Christine Aebi1,2, Julian Gröbner1, Niklaus Kämpfer2, and Laurent Vuilleumier3 1Physikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos, World Radiation Center, Davos, Switzerland
2Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research and Institute of Applied Physics, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
3Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, Payerne, Switzerland
Abstract. The current study analyses the cloud radiative effect during the daytime depending on cloud fraction and cloud type at two stations in Switzerland over a time period of 3 to 5 years. Information on fractional cloud coverage and cloud type is retrieved from images taken by visible all-sky cameras. Cloud-base height (CBH) data are retrieved from a ceilometer and integrated water vapour (IWV) data from GPS measurements. The longwave cloud radiative effect (LCE) for low-level clouds and a cloud coverage of 8 oktas has a median value between 59 and 72 Wm−2. For mid- and high-level clouds the LCE is significantly lower. It is shown that the fractional cloud coverage, the CBH and IWV all have an influence on the magnitude of the LCE. These observed dependences have also been modelled with the radiative transfer model MODTRAN5. The relative values of the shortwave cloud radiative effect (SCErel) for low-level clouds and a cloud coverage of 8 oktas are between −90 and −62 %. Also here the higher the cloud is, the less negative the SCErel values are. In cases in which the measured direct radiation value is below the threshold of 120 Wm−2 (occulted sun) the SCErel decreases substantially, while cases in which the measured direct radiation value is larger than 120 Wm−2 (visible sun) lead to a SCErel of around 0 %. In 14 and 10 % of the cases in Davos and Payerne respectively a cloud enhancement has been observed with a maximum in the cloud class cirrocumulus–altocumulus at both stations. The calculated median total cloud radiative effect (TCE) values are negative for almost all cloud classes and cloud coverages.

Citation: Aebi, C., Gröbner, J., Kämpfer, N., and Vuilleumier, L.: Cloud radiative effect, cloud fraction and cloud type at two stations in Switzerland using hemispherical sky cameras, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 4587-4600, https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-10-4587-2017, 2017.
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Short summary
The current study analyses the cloud radiative effect during the daytime depending on cloud fraction and cloud type at two stations in Switzerland over a time period of 3–5 years. Information about fractional cloud coverage and cloud type is retrieved from images taken by visible all-sky cameras. Cloud cover, cloud type and other atmospheric parameters have an influence on the magnitude of the longwave cloud effect as well as on the shortwave.
The current study analyses the cloud radiative effect during the daytime depending on cloud...
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