Impact of reflecting land surface on radiation environment over Hornsund, Spitsbergen – a model study for cloudless skies

Journal title

Polish Polar Research




vol. 38


No 2

Publication authors


aerosol radiative forcing ; Arctic ; fjord ; irradiance transmittance ; Monte Carlo modelling ; nadir radiance ; Svalbard

Divisions of PAS

Nauki o Ziemi




This paper addresses the influence of land topography and cover on 3D radiative effects under cloudless skies in the Hornsund area, Spitsbergen, Svalbard. The authors used Monte Carlo simulations of solar radiation transfer over a heterogeneous surface to study the impact of a non-uniform surface on: (1) the spatial distribution of irradiance transmittance at the fjord surface under cloudless skies; (2) the spectral shortwave aerosol radiative forcing at the fjord surface; (3) normalized nadir radiance at the Top Of the Atmosphere (TOA) over the fjord. The modelled transmittances and radiances over the fjord are compared to the transmittances and radiances over the open ocean under the same conditions. The dependence of the 3D radiative effects on aerosol optical thickness, aerosol type, surface albedo distribution, solar azimuth and zenith angle and spectral channel is discussed. The analysis was done for channels 3 (459-479 nm) and 2 (841-876 nm) of the MODIS radiometer. In the simulations a flat water surface was assumed. The study shows that snow-covered land surrounding the fjord strongly modifies the radiation environment over the fjord surface. The enhancement of the mean irradiance transmittance over the fjord with respect to the open ocean is up to 0.06 for channel 3. The enhancement exceeds 0.11 in the vicinity of sunlit cliffs. The influence of the snow-covered land on the TOA radiance over the fjord in channel 3 is comparable to the impact of an increase in aerosol optical thickness of over 100%, and in lateral fjords of up to several hundred percent. The increase in TOA radiance is wavelength dependent. These effects may affect retrievals of aerosol optical thickness.


Committee on Polar Research ; Polish Academy of Sciences




Artykuły / Articles


ISSN 0138-0338 ; eISSN 2081-8262


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