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  • Wild, M., 2007: Shortwave and longwave surface radiation budgets in GCMs: a review based on the IPCC-AR4/CMIP3 models. Tellus. Submitted.

Here we review the developments in the representation of surface radiation budgets in Global Climate Models (GCMs) over the past 2 decades up to the latest model generation used in the IPCC fourth assessment report (AR4). As in previous model generations, considerable differences in the simulated global mean radiation budgets are also found in the IPCC-AR4 models, particularly in the atmosphere and at the surface. We use a comprehensive set of surface observations to constrain these uncertainties, and focus on the downward shortwave and longwave radiation which can directly be validated against the surface observations. The majority of the IPCC-AR4 models still shows a tendency to overestimate the shortwave and underestimate the longwave downward radiation, each by 6 Wm-2 on average, a long standing problem in many GCMs. A subset of models, however, is now capable of simulating at least one of the downward radiative fluxes with no systematic bias. Model biases in all-sky and clear-sky fluxes are often similar, suggesting that deficiencies in clear-sky radiative transfer calculations are major contributors to the excessive surface insolation in many of the models. No indication is found that the simulated excessive surface insolation is due to missing cloud absorption.

Last Updated: 2007-12-13

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