The global land shortwave cryosphere radiative effect during the MODIS era
Abstract. The shortwave cryosphere radiative effect (CrRE) is the instantaneous influence of snow and ice cover on Earth's top-of-atmosphere (TOA) solar energy budget. Here, we apply measurements from the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), combined with microwave retrievals of snow presence and radiative kernels produced from four different models, to derive CrRE over global land during 2001–2013. We estimate global annual-mean land CrRE during this period of −2.6 W m−2, with variations from −2.2 to −3.0 W m−2 resulting from use of different kernels and variations of −2.4 to −2.6 W m−2 resulting from different algorithmic determinations of snow presence and surface albedo. Slightly more than half of the global land CrRE originates from perennial snow on Antarctica, whereas the majority of the northern hemispheric effect originates from seasonal snow. Consequently, the northern hemispheric land CrRE peaks at −6.0 W m−2 in April, whereas the southern hemispheric effect more closely follows the austral insolation cycle, peaking at −9.0 W m−2 in December. Mountain glaciers resolved in 0.05° MODIS data contribute about −0.037 W m−2 (1.4 %) of the global effect, with the majority (94 %) of this contribution originating from the Himalayas. Interannual trends in the global annual-mean land CrRE are not statistically significant during the MODIS era, but trends are positive (less negative) over large areas of northern Asia, especially during spring, and slightly negative over Antarctica, possibly due to increased snowfall. During a common overlap period of 2001–2008, our MODIS estimates of the northern hemispheric land CrRE are about 18 % smaller (less negative) than previous estimates derived from coarse-resolution AVHRR data, though interannual variations are well correlated (r = 0.78), indicating that these data are useful in determining longer-term trends in land CrRE.