Radiative Transfer

Radiative Impacts on Tropical Cyclones

During my M.S. and Ph.D. I examined how radiation, specifically shortwave radiation, impacted tropical cyclone structure and intensity. Some of this work I never published but can still be found in my dissertaion.

One of the biggest concerns I had was with the representation of the radiation schemes with cloud microphysics schemes in numerical weather prediction models. I compared different radiation schemes in a simple single domain model shown below using the same microphysics schemes and they produce different answers based on the interactions and assumptions made. It is important when running WRF or other research models to understand the limitations of the schemes, but a comprehensive study showing the feedbacks of these schemes hasn’t been conducted yet. If only I had the time and the resources.

Comparison between the radiative tendencies computed in a single domain WRF run for different radiation schemes.

If you are interested in learning more about radiative transfer, I found that one of the easiest tools to help understand radiative transfer in the atmosphere is the Santa Barbara DISORT Atmospheric Radiative Transfer (SBDART) model. The embedded acronymn DISORT stands for discrete ordinates radiative transfer. It is free to download and use and I would recommend checkout out the documentation referenced below. I have a handy notebook that I wrote while TAing radiative transfer at CSU using python. You can read and plot the output from SBDART examples with the code you can find here.

Ricchiazzi, P., S. Yang, C. Gautier, and D. Sowle, 1998: SBDART: A Research and Teaching Software Tool for Plane-Parallel Radiative Transfer in the Earth’s Atmosphere. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 79, 2101–2114, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0477(1998)079<2101:SARATS>2.0.CO;2.