Accurate determination of radiative energy fluxes over the Arctic is of crucial importance for understanding atmosphere-surface interactions, melt and refreezing cycles of the snow and ice cover, and the role of the Arctic in the global energy budget. Satellite-based estimates can provide comprehensive spatiotemporal coverage, but the accuracy and comparability of the existing data sets must be ascertained to facilitate their use. Here we compare radiative flux estimates from Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) Synoptic 1-degree (SYN1deg)/Energy Balanced and Filled, Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) surface energy budget, and our own experimental FluxNet / Satellite Application Facility on Climate Monitoring cLoud, Albedo and RAdiation (CLARA) data against in situ observations over Arctic sea ice and the Greenland Ice Sheet during summer of 2007. In general, CERES SYN1deg flux estimates agree best with in situ measurements, although with two particular limitations: (1) over sea ice the upwelling shortwave flux in CERES SYN1deg appears to be underestimated because of an underestimated surface albedo and (2) the CERES SYN1deg upwelling longwave flux over sea ice saturates during midsummer. The Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer-based GEWEX and FluxNet-CLARA flux estimates generally show a larger range in retrieval errors relative to CERES, with contrasting tendencies relative to each other. The largest source of retrieval error in the FluxNet-CLARA downwelling shortwave flux is shown to be an overestimated cloud optical thickness. The results illustrate that satellite-based flux estimates over the Arctic are not yet homogeneous and that further efforts are necessary to investigate the differences in the surface and cloud properties which lead to disagreements in flux retrievals.
Riihela, Key, Meirink, Kuipers Munneke, Palo, Karlsson. An intercomparison and validation of satellite-based surface radiative energy flux estimates over the Arctic
published, J. Geophys. Res., 2017, 122