Atmospheric Radiation and Cryosphere

The 6th Research Laboratory, Climate Research Department, Meteorological Research Institute

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Atmospheric Radiation and Cryosphere research group

An energy source of the atmospheric motion, temperature, and precipitation is the solar radiation coming from the sun (shortwave radiation). The solar radiation undergoes the processes of absorption, scattering, and reflection by the atmosphere and earth surface, and a part of it returns to outer space. The solar radiation absorbed by the atmosphere and earth surface heats them, in which the absorbed energy generally changes its form and is redistributed in the earth system including the atmosphere, ocean, land, cryosphere, and biosphere. The same amount of energy as the solar radiation absorbed by the whole of our planet finally goes out to space as terrestrial radiation (longwave radiation = thermal infrared radiation). Recently, the balance between the absorbed solar radiation and outgoing longwave radiation changes due to increases in greenhouse gases (GG) such as anthropogenic carbon dioxide, and thus our planet is warming. The balance is very delicate and is likely to change with not only an increase in GG, but also the changes of various factors such as clouds, aerosols, and land surfaces. Among them the cryosphere is significantly affected by global warming and has a large feedback effect to the energy balance in earth system. At present, our laboratory focuses on the interaction between aerosols and snow/ice surfaces.

SIGMA-A AWS snow BRDF measurement

The other importance of the atmospheric radiation is that it conveys various kinds of information on the media (atmospheric constituents and surfaces) in which the radiation propagates. By using various instruments measuring radiation including satellite sensors, we can remotely retrieve (= remote sensing) the parameters of the atmosphere and earth surfaces.

Our laboratory has performed the detailed radiation budget measurements on snow surface using various instruments together with the measurements for atmospheric aerosols and snow physical parameters which affect the radiation components. The obtained results are simulated with a radiative transfer model for the atmosphere-snow system. From these procedures the radiative processes in the cryosphere is clarified. We are trying to develop the physically based compact sub-model for radiation process in the cryosphere, which will be integrated into climate model called "Earth System Model", to improve the prediction accuracy of future climate condition. Furthermore, to monitor the quantitative change in the cryosphere we are trying to develop the algorithms for satellite remote sensing of snow physical parameters.

  • link to SIGMA-project

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    Meteorological Research Institute 6F.
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Climate Research Department, Meteorological Research Institute.