Articles | Volume 13, issue 22
Technical note
18 Nov 2013
Technical note |  | 18 Nov 2013

Technical Note: Evaluating a simple parameterization of radiative shortwave forcing from surface albedo change

R. M. Bright and M. M. Kvalevåg

Abstract. Land-use activities affect Earth's energy balance not only via biogeochemical emissions, but also through perturbations in surface albedo, the latter of which is often excluded in impact assessment studies. In this short technical note, we present and compare a simple model for estimating shortwave radiative forcings at the top of Earth's atmosphere to a more sophisticated 8-stream radiative transfer model based on a discrete ordinate method. Outcomes from monthly albedo change simulations for ten globally distributed regions and a single year revealed that the simple model – based on a single exogenously supplied meteorological variable – performed quite well, having a sample correlation coefficient of 0.93 and a normalized root mean square error of 7.2%. Simple models like the one presented here can offer an attractive and efficient means for non-experts to begin including albedo change considerations in climate impact assessment studies enveloping land use activities.

Final-revised paper