Linjiong Zhou, Minghua Zhang, Qing Bao, Yimin Liu
First published: 05 March 2015
Annual incident solar radiation at the top of atmosphere should be independent of longitudes. However, in many Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) models, we find that the incident radiation exhibited zonal oscillations, with up to 30 W/m2 of spurious variations. This feature can affect the interpretation of regional climate and diurnal variation of CMIP5 results. This oscillation is also found in the Community Earth System Model. We show that this feature is caused by temporal sampling errors in the calculation of the solar zenith angle. The sampling error can cause zonal oscillations of surface clear‐sky net shortwave radiation of about 3 W/m2 when an hourly radiation time step is used and 24 W/m2 when a 3 h radiation time step is used.