Cahalan, R. F., L. Oreopoulos, A. Marshak, K. F. Evans, A. B. Davis, R. Pincus, K. H. Yetzer, B. Mayer, R. Davies, T. P. Ackerman, H. W. Barker, E. E. Clothiaux, R. G. Ellingson, M. J. Garay, E. Kassianov, S. Kinne, A. Macke, W. O'Hirok, P. T. Partain, S. M. Prigarin, A. N. Rublev, G. L. Stephens, F. Szczap, E. E. Takara, T. Varnai, G. Wen, and T. B. Zhuravlevea, 2005: The I3RC: Bringing together the most advanced radiative transfer tools for cloudy atmospheres. Bull. Amer. Met. Soc., 86, 1275-1293.
The interaction of clouds with solar and terrestrial radiation is one of the most important topics of climate research. In recent years it has been recognized that only a full three-dimensional (3D) treatment of this interaction can provide answers to many climate and remote sensing problems, leading to the worldwide development of numerous 3D radiative transfer (RT) codes. The international Intercomparison of 3D Radiation Codes (I3RC), described in this paper, sprung from the natural need to compare the performance of these 3D RT codes used in a variety of current scientific work in the atmospheric sciences. I3RC supports intercomparison and development of both exact and approximate 3D methods in its effort to 1) understand and document the errors/limits of 3D algorithms and their sources; 2) provide "baseline" cases for future code development for 3D radiation; 3) promote sharing and production of 3D radiative tools; 4) derive guidelines for 3D radiative tool selection; and 5) improve atmospheric science education in 3D RT. Results from the two completed phases of I3RC have been presented in two workshops and are expected to guide improvements in both remote sensing and radiative energy budget calculations in cloudy atmospheres.