Radiative fluxes in the High Arctic region derived from ground-based lidar measurements onboard drifting buoys
Abstract. The Arctic is facing drastic climate changes that are not correctly represented by state-of-the-art models because of complex feedbacks between radiation, clouds and sea-ice surfaces. A better understanding of the surface energy budget requires radiative measurements that are limited in time and space in the High Arctic (> 80° N) and mostly obtained through specific expeditions. Six years of lidar observations onboard buoys drifting in the Arctic Ocean above 83° N have been carried out as part of the IAOOS (Ice Atmosphere arctic Ocean Operating System) project. The objective of this study is to investigate the possibility to extent the IAOOS dataset to provide estimates of the shortwave (SW) and longwave (LW) surface irradiances from lidar measurements on drifting buoys. Our approach relies on the use of the STREAMER radiative transfer model to estimate the downwelling SW scattered radiances from the background noise measured by lidar. Those radiances are then used to derive estimates of the cloud optical depths. In turn, the knowledge of the cloud optical depth enables to estimate the SW and LW (using additional IAOOS measured information) downwelling irradiances at the surface. The method was applied to the IAOOS buoy measurements in spring 2015, and retrieved cloud optical depths were compared to those derived from radiative irradiances measured during the N-ICE (Norwegian Young Sea Ice Experiment) campaign at the meteorological station, in the vicinity of the drifting buoys. Retrieved and measured SW and LW irradiances were then compared. Results showed overall good agreement. Cloud optical depths were estimated with a rather large dispersion of about 47 %. LW irradiances showed a fairly small dispersion (within 5 W m−2), with a corrigible residual bias (3 W m−2). The estimated uncertainty of the SW irradiances was 4 %. But, as for the cloud optical depth, the SW irradiances showed the occurrence of a few outliers, that may be due to a short lidar sequence acquisition time (no more than four times 10 mn per day), possibly not long enough to smooth out cloud heterogeneity. The net SW and LW irradiances are retrieved within 13 W m−2.
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