Articles | Volume 14, issue 13
Research article
09 Jul 2014
Research article |  | 09 Jul 2014

New spectral functions of the near-ground albedo derived from aircraft diffraction spectrometer observations

C. A. Varotsos, I. N. Melnikova, A. P. Cracknell, C. Tzanis, and A. V. Vasilyev

Abstract. The airborne spectral observations of the upward and downward irradiances are revisited to investigate the dependence of the near-ground albedo as a function of wavelength in the entire solar spectrum for different surfaces (sand, water, snow) and under different conditions (clear or cloudy sky). The radiative upward and downward fluxes were determined by a diffraction spectrometer flown on a research aircraft that was performing multiple flight paths near the ground. The results obtained show that the near-ground albedo does not generally increase with increasing wavelengths for all kinds of surfaces as is widely believed today. Particularly, in the case of water surfaces it was found that the albedo in the ultraviolet region is more or less independent of the wavelength on a long-term basis. Interestingly, in the visible and near-infrared spectra the water albedo obeys an almost constant power-law relationship with wavelength. In the case of sand surfaces it was found that the sand albedo is a quadratic function of wavelength, which becomes more accurate if the ultraviolet wavelengths are neglected. Finally, it was found that the spectral dependence of snow albedo behaves similarly to that of water, i.e. both decrease from the ultraviolet to the near-infrared wavelengths by 20–50%, despite the fact that their values differ by one order of magnitude (water albedo being lower). In addition, the snow albedo vs. ultraviolet wavelength is almost constant, while in the visible near-infrared spectrum the best simulation is achieved by a second-order polynomial, as in the case of sand, but with opposite slopes.

Final-revised paper