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Towards an improved understanding of the Global Energy Balance: absorption of solar radiation

Applicant Wild Martin
Number 135395
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Atmosphäre und Klima ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy
Start/End 01.01.2012 - 31.03.2015
Approved amount 162'482.00
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Keywords (6)

Global Energy Balance ; Radiation Budget; Climate Change; Solar radiation; Global Dimming; Surface Albedo

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

The genesis and evolution of Earth’s climate is largely regulated by the balance between inflow of solar energy (received from the Sun) and outflow of thermal energy (emitted by the Earth). Human interference with climate occurs first of all through a perturbation of this energy balance, as a result of anthropogenic modification of greenhouse gas and aerosol concentration. Changes in the global energy balance affect not only global warming, but also other aspects of climate change, such as the intensity of the water cycle, snow cover and glacier retreat, plant productivity and terrestrial carbon uptake. Despite the central importance of the global energy balance for the climate system and climate change, substantial uncertainties still exist in the quantification of its different components and their decadal variations. The long-term research goal of the investigators aims at an improved understanding of the mean state and the spatio-temporal variations of the global energy balance. While our knowledge on the energy exchange between Sun, Earth and space has recently been improved through new satellite programs, the distribution of radiative energy within the climate system, which cannot directly be measured by satellites, is still afflicted with large uncertainties. The present project aims at reducing the uncertainties in the absorption of solar radiation within the climate system, a crucial component of the global energy balance, through an optimal usage of the information contained in worldwide surface and satellite measurements. These investigations should allow for the best possible estimates on the disposition of solar radiation in the climate system. Such estimates are urgently needed for a better understanding and representation of the global energy balance in the framework of the 5th IPCC assessment report, and for the assessment and improvement of climate models.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Name Institute

Publications

Publication
On the Zonal Near-Constancy of Fractional Sola Absorption in the Atmosphere
Hakuba Maria Z. Folini Doris Wild Martin (2016), On the Zonal Near-Constancy of Fractional Sola Absorption in the Atmosphere, in Journal of Climate , 29(9), 3423-3440.
Solar absorption over Europe from collocated surface and satellite observations
Hakuba M. Z., Folini D., Schaepman-Strub G., Wild M. (2014), Solar absorption over Europe from collocated surface and satellite observations, in JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, 119(6), 3420-3437.
Spatial representativeness of ground-based solar radiation measurements-Extension to the full Meteosat disk
Hakuba M. Z., Folini D., Sanchez-Lorenzo A., Wild M. (2014), Spatial representativeness of ground-based solar radiation measurements-Extension to the full Meteosat disk, in JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, 119(20), 11760-11771.
Spatial representativeness of ground-based solar radiation measurements
M. Z. Hakuba D. Folini A. Sanchez-Lorenzo and M. Wild (2013), Spatial representativeness of ground-based solar radiation measurements, in Journal of Geophysical Research, 118, 8585-8597.
Testing the Homogeneity of Short-Term Surface Solar Radiation Series in Europe
Hakuba Maria Z., Sanchez-Lorenzo Arturo, Folini Doris, Wild Martin (2013), Testing the Homogeneity of Short-Term Surface Solar Radiation Series in Europe, in RADIATION PROCESSES IN THE ATMOSPHERE AND OCEAN (IRS2012), 1531, 700-703.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
International Radiation Commission (IRC) United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Boston University (Prof. Crystal Schaaf) United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Dr. Charles N. Long) United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
NASA Langley (Drs. N. Loeb, P. Stackhouse) United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
12th EGU General Assembly Poster Spatial representativeness of ground-based solar radiation measurements -- Extension to the full Meteosat disk 12.04.2015 Vienna, Austria Wild Martin; Hakuba Maria Zyta; Folini Doris;
12th EGU General Assembly Talk given at a conference Solar absorption in the clear and cloudy skies -- quantification and attribution 12.04.2015 Vienna, Austria Hakuba Maria Zyta; Folini Doris; Wild Martin;
13th BSRN Scientific Review and Workshop Talk given at a conference Solar absorption and cloud radiative effects observed at BSRN sites 09.09.2014 Bologna, Italy Schaepman-Strub Gabriela; Hakuba Maria Zyta; Wild Martin; Folini Doris;
Invited seminar at NCAR Boulder Individual talk Solar absorption in the atmosphere – Estimates from collocated surface and satellite observation 31.07.2014 Boulder, United States of America Wild Martin; Hakuba Maria Zyta; Schaepman-Strub Gabriela; Folini Doris;
Invited seminar at NOAA ESRL Boulder Individual talk Solar absorption in the atmosphere – Estimates from collocated surface and satellite observation 28.07.2014 Boulder, United States of America Folini Doris; Wild Martin; Hakuba Maria Zyta; Schaepman-Strub Gabriela;
Invited seminar at UCSD Scripps La Jolla Individual talk Solar absorption in the atmosphere – Estimates from collocated surface and satellite observations 24.07.2014 La Jolla, San Diego, United States of America Hakuba Maria Zyta; Folini Doris; Schaepman-Strub Gabriela; Wild Martin;
Invited seminar at NOAA GFDL Princeton Individual talk Solar absorption in the atmosphere – Estimates from collocated surface and satellite observations”. Presented at: NOAA GFDL Princeton, NASA JPL Pasadena, UCSD Scripps La Jolla, NOAA Boulder, NCAR Boulder 16.07.2014 Princeton, United States of America Wild Martin; Folini Doris; Schaepman-Strub Gabriela; Hakuba Maria Zyta;
AMS conference on Atmospheric Radiation 2014 Poster Spatial representativeness of ground- based solar radiation measurements estimated from high-resolution Meteosat data 07.07.2014 Boston, United States of America Wild Martin; Folini Doris; Hakuba Maria Zyta;
AMS conference on Atmospheric Radiation 2014 Talk given at a conference Solar absorption in the atmosphere – Estimates from collocated surface and space-born observations 07.07.2014 Boston, United States of America Wild Martin; Hakuba Maria Zyta; Schaepman-Strub Gabriela; Folini Doris;
Invited seminar at NASA JPL Pasadena Individual talk Solar absorption in the atmosphere – Estimates from collocated surface and satellite observations 21.05.2014 Pasadena, Los Angeles, United States of America Schaepman-Strub Gabriela; Wild Martin; Hakuba Maria Zyta; Folini Doris;
11th EGU General Assembly Talk given at a conference Solar absorption in the atmosphere – Estimates from collocated surface and satellite observations over Europe 27.04.2014 Vienna, Austria Folini Doris; Wild Martin; Schaepman-Strub Gabriela; Hakuba Maria Zyta;
11th EGU General Assembly Poster Spatial representativeness of ground-based solar radiation measurements estimated from high-resolution Meteosat data 27.04.2014 Vienna, Austria Folini Doris; Schaepman-Strub Gabriela; Wild Martin; Hakuba Maria Zyta;
11th EGU General Assembly Poster Towards a global mean partitioning of solar absorption 27.04.2014 Vienna, Austria Wild Martin; Schaepman-Strub Gabriela; Folini Doris; Hakuba Maria Zyta;
Swiss Global Change Day, 2014 Poster 23% Atmospheric Solar Absorption over Europe: Estimates from collocated Surface and Spaceborn Observations 02.04.2014 Bern, Switzerland Schaepman-Strub Gabriela; Wild Martin; Folini Doris; Hakuba Maria Zyta;
4th CM SAF User Workshop, March 2014, Grainau, Germany Poster Spatial representativeness of ground- based solar radiation measurements estimated from high-resolution CM SAF Meteosat data 10.03.2014 Grainau, Germany Wild Martin; Hakuba Maria Zyta; Folini Doris;
12th international NCCR Climate Summer School Poster Spatial representativeness of ground-based solar radiation measurements \\ in Europe 01.09.2013 Grindelwald, Switzerland Wild Martin; Hakuba Maria Zyta; Folini Doris;
Swiss Global Change Day, 2013 Poster Spatial representativeness of ground-based solar radiation measurements 16.04.2013 Bern, Switzerland Folini Doris; Wild Martin; Hakuba Maria Zyta;
10th EGU General Assembly Poster Spatial representativeness of ground-based solar radiation measurements 07.04.2013 Wien, Austria Hakuba Maria Zyta; Folini Doris; Wild Martin;
10th EGU General Assembly Talk given at a conference Solar absorption estimated from surface radiation measurements and collocated satellite products over Europe 07.04.2013 Wien, Austria Hakuba Maria Zyta;
Gordon Research Conference Radiation & Climate Talk given at a conference Surface radiation budget in observations and climate models (invited lecture) 09.01.2013 New London NH, United States of America Wild Martin;
11th international NCCR Climate Summer School Poster Solar Absorption in the Atmosphere – Towards estimates from surface based measurements and collocated satellite products 09.09.2012 Monte Verità, Ticino, Switzerland , Switzerland Folini Doris; Schaepman-Strub Gabriela; Wild Martin; Hakuba Maria Zyta;
International Radiation Symposium 2012 Poster Solar absorption in the climate system estimated from surface radiation measurements and collocated satellite products 06.08.2012 Berlin, Germany, Germany Wild Martin; Hakuba Maria Zyta; Schaepman-Strub Gabriela; Folini Doris;
Twelfth BSRN Scientific Review and Workshop Talk given at a conference Disposition of Solar Energy – Towards Estimates from BSRN Surface Measurements and Collocated Satellite Products in Europe 01.08.2012 Potsdam, Germany, Germany Hakuba Maria Zyta;
9th EGU General Assembly Poster Solar absorption estimated from surface radiation measurements and collocated satellite products 22.04.2012 Vienna, Austria, Austria Folini Doris; Hakuba Maria Zyta; Wild Martin; Schaepman-Strub Gabriela;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions ETH Klimarunde:Welche Schlüsse ziehen wir aus dem neusten UNO-Klimabericht? (Martin Wild) German-speaking Switzerland 2013
Talks/events/exhibitions IPCC Klimaänderung 2013 Einblicke in den Working Group I Bericht IPCC, Wien, 4. 10. 2013 (M. Wild) International 2013
Talks/events/exhibitions IPCC Klimaänderung 2013: Wissenschaftliche Grundlagen, Bern, Martin Wild: Die Energiebilanz der Erde International Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2013

Awards

Title Year
Travel award to the AMS conference on Atmospheric Radiation ($250). 2014

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
159938 Towards an improved understanding of the Global Energy Balance: temporal variation of solar radiation in the climate system 01.01.2016 Project funding (Div. I-III)
159938 Towards an improved understanding of the Global Energy Balance: temporal variation of solar radiation in the climate system 01.01.2016 Project funding (Div. I-III)
140631 Towards an improved understanding of the tundra energy balance - dependence of radiative transfer on vegetation type 01.09.2012 Project funding (Div. I-III)
188601 Towards an improved understanding of the Global Energy Balance: causes of decadal changes of solar radiation 01.09.2020 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

The genesis and evolution of Earth’s climate is largely regulated by the Global Energy Balance. Anthropogenic climate change is, from a physical point of view, first of all a perturbation of the energy balance of the globe, through the modification of the atmospheric composition of greenhouse gases and aerosols. Changes in the global energy balance affect not only the thermal conditions on the planet, but also various other climate elements, such as the components of the hydrological cycle, snow cover and glaciers, plant productivity and terrestrial carbon uptake. Despite the central importance of the global energy balance for the climate system and climate change, substantial uncertainties still exist in the quantification of the different components of the energy balance and their decadal variations. The long term research goal of the applicant aims at an improved understanding of the mean state and the spatio-temporal variations of the different components of the energy balance of the globe. While our knowledge on the energy exchange between Sun, Earth and space has recently been improved through new satellite programs, the distribution of radiative energy within the climate system, which cannot directly be measured by satellites, is still afflicted with large uncertainties. The proposed PhD project aims at reducing the uncertainties in the absorption of solar radiation within the climate system, a crucial aspect of the global energy balance, through an optimal usage of the information contained in worldwide surface radiation measurements in combination with satellite products. This project makes extensive use of the comprehensive dataset of surface radiation measurements compiled by the applicants’ group in the Global Energy Balance Archive (GEBA), as well as of the Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN). These data will be combined with recent satellite data (in particular CERES and MODIS) to quantify the top of the atmosphere fluxes and surface albedo. A number of long-standing and pressing issues with respect to surface radiation data are addressed in this project. This includes quality assessment of the stations collected in GEBA, homogenization of time series, the assessment of station representativeness, as well as best estimates of the surface albedo to infer absorbed solar fluxes from the measured downwelling fluxes. The aim of these investigations is to establish the best possible information contained in the surface radiation observations on the absorption of solar radiation at the Earth surface. In combination with collocated satellite data of top of atmosphere fluxes, this will provide a unique dataset of key reference (anchor) stations to investigate the disposition and variation of solar radiation in the climate system, as well as its representation in climate models and satellite-derived products. Such investigations are urgently needed for a better understanding and representation of the Global Energy Balance in the framework of the 5th IPCC assessment report.
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