Acta Geodaetica et Geophysica

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 481–492 | Cite as

A new diagram of Earth’s global energy budget

Article

Abstract

A new global mean energy budget diagram is offered for discussion and further examination. The main motivation for creating this figure was the observation that a quasi-discrete flux quantity structure seems to appear behind the best published energy budget data. This structure underneath the observed global energy flow system might represent an idealized, hypothetic normal (steady) state onto which the actual climatic regimes and their changes can be projected. The unit of the all-sky structure is the value of the flux element called longwave cloud radiative effect (LWCRE), termed also the greenhouse effect of clouds; under prevailing average conditions, it turns out to be numerically equal to the all-sky surface transmitted irradiance, ST(all). There is also a clear-sky structure, as reported in earlier studies, where the unit of measure is one ST(clear). Three important features are independent of the discrete units: (a) the energies at the surface are equal to the total energy at top-of-atmosphere plus one LWCRE; (b) the energies in the atmosphere are equal to the energy at the surface plus two LWCRE; (c) the shortwave (SW) radiation absorbed by the surface is equal to the longwave (LW) energy in the all-sky greenhouse effect. The aim of our study is to present the system as it reveals itself in the data; theoretical explanation is out of our recent scope.

Graphical Abstract

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Keywords

Earth’s energy budget Cloud radiative effect Greenhouse effect of clouds Energy balance equations 

Abbreviations

ASR

Absorbed (=incoming minus reflected) solar radiation

β

Cloud area fraction

CERES

Clouds and the Earth’s radiant energy system

EBAF

Energy balanced and filled

f

Transfer function, f = OLR/SU, also called planetary emissivity

g

Greenhouse function, g = G/SU = 1 − f

G

Greenhouse effect, G = SU − OLR

GEWEX

Global energy and water exchanges project

ISCCP

International satellite cloud climatology project

LA

Longwave radiation absorbed in the atmosphere

LD

Downward emitted atmospheric longwave radiation at the surface, also termed DLR or ‘back-radiation’

LU

Upward emitted atmospheric longwave radiation at TOA, also termed ‘thermal cooling to space’

LH

Latent heat (evapotranspiration)

LWCRE

Longwave cloud radiative effect

NET

Surface net longwave radiative cooling, NET = SU − LD(all)

OLR

Outgoing longwave radiation

SA

Shortwave radiation absorbed in the atmosphere

SH

Sensible heat (thermals, convection)

SRF

Surface

ST

Surface transmitted irradiance

SU

Surface upward longwave radiation

TA

Longwave transmittance, TA = ST/SU

TOA

Top of the atmosphere

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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Eötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary

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