cloud radiative forcing
The difference between net irradiances
measured for average atmospheric conditions and those measured in the absence of clouds
for the same region and time period.
Cloud radiative forcing depends jointly on the amount of cloud present and the sensitivity of radiation
to cloud amount
. It may be partitioned into longwave
forcing terms, the combination of which typically results in a negative net forcing when referenced to the top of the atmosphere
(i.e., satellite measurements). That is, a clear
region typically reflects less solar, and emits more terrestrial, radiation than does the average condition, and the difference in solar reflection
is typically greater than the difference in terrestrial emission
to space. While the definition of cloud radiative forcing in terms of average measured values is unambiguous, the relationship between cloud radiative forcing and the equilibrium
effects of clouds on climate
, especially on surface temperature
, is a complicated topic. See also radiative forcing
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