Fast and Accurate Radiative Transfer Calculations Using Principal Component Analysis for Climate Modeling
Abstract:Radiative transfer (RT) computations are an essential component of energy budget calculations in climate models. However, full treatment of RT processes is computationally expensive, prompting usage of 2-stream approximations in operational climate models. This simplification introduces errors of the order of 10% in the top of the atmosphere (TOA) fluxes [Randles et al., 2013].
Here, we extend the PCA method to a broadband spectral region from the ultraviolet to the shortwave infrared (0.3-3 micron), accounting for major gas absorptions in this region. Comparisons between the new model, called Universal Principal Component Analysis model for Radiative Transfer (UPCART), 2-stream models (such as those used in climate applications) and line-by-line RT models are performed, in order for spectral radiances, spectral fluxes and broadband fluxes. Each of these are calculated at the TOA for several scenarios with varying aerosol types, extinction and scattering optical depth profiles, and solar and viewing geometries.
We demonstrate that very accurate radiative forcing estimates can be obtained, with better than 1% accuracy in all spectral regions and better than 0.1% in most cases as compared to an exact line-by-line RT model. The model is comparable in speeds to 2-stream models, potentially rendering UPCART useful for operational General Circulation Models (GCMs). The operational speed and accuracy of UPCART can be further improved by optimizing binning schemes and parallelizing the codes, work on which is under way.