Energy Balance Models with Realistic Albedo, Monthly Insolation, Milankovitch Cycles, and Simplified Earth-Like Planetary Modeling



Taubenberger, Christian Johann

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Energy balance modeling with simple flows is largely overlooked today in favor of the realism of sophisticated Earth system models. However, much can be learned from simple energy balance models (EBM’s), especially for paleoclimate modeling and for exoplanets. In fact, with some modest adjustments, EBM’s allow for a comparable output model to some general circulation models. Here, the classic Budyko-Sellers one-dimensional energy balance model is revitalized in MATLAB to include zero-dimensional (0D), multiple one-dimensional (1D), and multiple two-dimensional (2D) versions with realistic monthly albedo, monthly insolation, and an algorithm for mean annual insolation for any star-orbiting planet with non-zero obliquity and orbital eccentricity, and a rotation rate that is significantly faster than that of its orbit. The revitalized EBMs are applied to characterize the energy balance of Earth, while also showcasing their applicability for a range of realistic obliquities and orbital eccentricities. The significance of specific variables was tested, such as changes to insolation, latitudinal heat transport, outgoing longwave radiation, initial surface and cloud albedos, initial temperatures, and astronomical parameters. Model results were found to rely most heavily on initial albedo of Earth’s surface and clouds, as well as orbitally forced monthly insolation changes. The goal is to accurately model the energy balance of any planet with simplistic, limited data. In this study, the groundwork is laid for more specific questions to be answered with this catalog of models.



Energy Balance Model, Insolation, Paleoclimate Change, Milankovitch Cycles, Albedo, EBM