Photodissociation and UV radiative transfer in a cloudy atmosphere: Modeling and measurements

J. Matthijsen, Karsten Suhre, R. Rosset, F. L. Eisele, R. L. Mauldin, D. J. Tanner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We present an analysis of UV radiative transfer under cloudy conditions in relation to the photochemistry of the hydroxyl radical (OH) by means of modeling and measurements. The measurements, which are part of the First Aerosol Characterization Experiment (ACE 1) campaign, consist of four different ascents/descents selected from research flight (RF) 12 and 28. The ascents/descents give vertical profiles of UV irradiances, microphysical properties, standard meteorological parameters, and OH concentration in the presence of one or more cloud layers. In order to assess the photochemical conditions for these (complex) cloudy cases we first compare the UV irradiance measurements with modeled profiles. We model the UV irradiances using cloud optical properties which we derive from the measured microphysical properties. Second, we use the simultaneously modeled actinic flux to calculate the rate constant of the photodissociation of ozone to the O(1D) radical (JO3). Tnis reaction initiates the primary OH-production. Finally, we compare the measured OH concentrations with those derived from the radiative transfer calculations. For single-cloud layer cases we successfully simulated UV radiative transfer, JO3 and OH. For more complex multiple-cloud layer cases the UV radiative transfer could only be explained allowing large variations of the cloud optical thickness (from zero to double the measurement derived values). The impact of such variations on the modeled radiation-derived photochemical properties, JO3 and OH, was, with a variation of 25%, found to be relatively small. As a consequence, we were able to simulate the general profile of OH for these complex cloudy conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number97JD02989
Pages (from-to)16665-16676
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue numberD13
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 1998
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Ecology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

Cite this

Matthijsen, J., Suhre, K., Rosset, R., Eisele, F. L., Mauldin, R. L., & Tanner, D. J. (1998). Photodissociation and UV radiative transfer in a cloudy atmosphere: Modeling and measurements. Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres, 103(D13), 16665-16676. [97JD02989].