AbstractIn anticipation that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will have a useful role in atmospheric energy budget studies over sea ice, we use a Monte-Carlo model to investigate three-dimensional radiative transfer over a highly inhomogeneous surface albedo involving open water, sea ice and melt ponds. The model simulates the spatial variability in 550 nanometer downwelling irradiance and albedo that a UAV would measure above this surface and underneath an optically thick, horizontally homogeneous cloud. At flight altitudes higher than 100 m above the surface, an airborne radiometer will sample irradiances that are greatly smoothed horizontally due to photon multiple reflection. If one is interested in sampling the local energy budget contrasts between specific surface types then the UAV must fly at a low altitude, typically within 20 m of the surface. Spatial upwelling irradiance variability in larger open water features, of order 1000 m wide, will remain apparent as high as 500 m above the surface. To fully investigate the impact of surface feature variability on the energy budget of the lower troposphere-ice-ocean system, a UAV needs to fly at a variety of altitudes to determine how individual features contribute to the area average albedo.
Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology – American Meteorological Society
Published: Nov 30, 2017
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