Biologically active insolation over Antarctic waters: Effect of a highly reflecting coastline

Podgorny, I, Lubin D.  1998.  Biologically active insolation over Antarctic waters: Effect of a highly reflecting coastline. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 103:2919-2928.

Date Published:



cloud, Ozone, radiation, surface albedo


Near an Antarctic coastline or sea ice edge, multiple reflection of photons between the high-albedo surface and a cloud will increase the downwelling surface insolation not only over the high-albedo surface itself but also out over the adjacent open water. This insolation enhancement is examined with a Monte Carlo radiative transfer model. The insolation enhancement extends to a typical distance of 4 km out to sea, with the most important effects being within 2 km of the coastline. The strength of the multiple reflection effect depends primarily on cloud base height and cloud optical depth and only slightly on cloud geometrical thickness. The insolation enhancement is also a function of wavelength, being larger for ultraviolet wavelengths than for the visible. This is due to a slightly greater contribution from Rayleigh scattering at the shorter wavelengths, although at ultraviolet wavelengths where ozone absorption is strong, tropospheric ozone absorption can offset the Rayleigh scattering contribution at larger cloud optical depths. On the basis of the limited range of the multiple reflection effect (2-4 km out to sea) the insolation enhancement due to the high-albedo coastline is unlikely to be a major influence on the primary productivity of all Antarctic waters; however, it may influence phytoplankton blooms near the coast and photobiological experiments carried out at coastal research stations. Also, the insolation enhancement may have significance in sea ice leads and polynyas.