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Temperature and TOA Forcing

May 9, 2015

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I’ve been thinking about temperature and top-of-atmosphere (TOA) forcing. TOA forcing is the imbalance between the TOA upwelling and downwelling radiation. The CERES satellite dataset contains observations of the TOA radiation imbalance on a gridcell-by-gridcell basis. It is calculated as the downwelling solar radiation for that month by gridcell, minus upwelling reflected solar radiation, minus upwelling longwave radiation. Figure 1 shows the distribution of the TOA radiation imbalance around the planet.

Average TOA Radiation Imbalance 2000 2014Figure 1. Average top-of-atmosphere (TOA) imbalance. 

Some areas in Figure 1, such as those around the tropics, absorb more radiation than they emit (positive values). The extra-tropics and the poles, on the other hand, emit more radiation than they are absorbing (negative values). The balance is maintained by the constant transfer of heat between the tropics and the poles by means of the ocean and atmosphere .

We can also take a look at…

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