Separating the shortwave and longwave components of greenhouse gas radiative forcing
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
- Journal articles 
Original versionAtmospheric Science Letters. 2022, . 10.1002/asl.1116
Many important greenhouse gases (including water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and ozone) absorb solar radiation. When gas concentrations change, this absorption exerts a radiative forcing that modifies the thermal infrared (‘longwave’) radiative forcing which is predominant for most gases (ozone being a major exception). The nature of the solar forcing differs from the longwave forcing in several ways. For example, the sign of the instantaneous solar forcing can differ between the tropopause and top-of-atmosphere, and the sign can differ between gases. In addition, a significant part of the solar forcing can be manifested in the longwave, following stratospheric temperature adjustment, which can counteract or enhance the instantaneous solar forcing. Here the nature of solar forcing is examined via a mixture of idealised and more realistic calculations, which consider the effect of perturbations in carbon dioxide, methane and ozone. An apparent contradiction in the sign of the solar forcing of carbon dioxide is resolved; it is shown to be negative, reducing the net carbon dioxide forcing by about 2.3%. The relevance of this work to the effective radiative forcing concept is also discussed.