A Synthetical Estimation of Northern Hemisphere Sea-ice Albedo Radiative Forcing and Feedback between 1982 and 2009

Friday, 19 December 2014
Yunfeng Cao, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
The decreasing surface albedo caused by continously vanishing sea ice over the Arctic plays a very important role in Arctic warming amplification. However, the quantification of the change of radiative forcing at top of atmosphere (TOA) introduced by the decreasing sea ice albedo and its generated feedback to the climate remain uncertain. Two recent representative studies showed a large difference with each other: Flanner et al. (2011) used a method of synthesis of surface albedo and radiative kernels and found that the change of sea ice radiative forcing (ΔSIRF) in Northern Hemisphere (NH) from 1979 to 2008 was 0.22 (0.15 – 0.32) W m–2, and the corresponding sea ice albedo feedback (SIAF) over NH was 0.28 (0.19 – 0.41) W m-2 K-1; while Pistone et al. (2014) directly used the observed planetary albedo to estimate the NH ΔSIRF and SIAF from 1979 to 2011 and draw a NH ΔSIRF of 0.43 ± 0.07 W m–2, which was nearly twice as larger as Flanner’s result, and the estimated global SIAF was 0.31 ± 0.04 W m-2 K-1. Motivated by reconciling the difference between these two studies and obtaining a more accurate qualification of the NH ΔSIRF, we used a newly released satellite-retrieved surface albedo product CLARA-A1 and made an attempt in two steps: Firstly, based on synthesising the surface albedo and raditive kernels, we calcualted the ΔSIRF from 1982 to 2009 was 0.20 ± 0.05 W m-2, and the NH SIAF was 0.25 W m-2 K-1; After comparing with TOA observed radiative flux, we found it’s quite likely the kernel methods yield an underestimation for the all-sky ΔSIRF. Then, we tried to use TOA observed broadband radiative flux to adjust the estimation with kernels. After an adjustment, the NH all-sky ΔSIRF was 0.34 ± 0.09 W m-2, and the corresponding SIAF was 0.43 W m-2 K-1 over NH and 0.31 W m-2 K-1 over the entire globe.