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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(1), 46; doi:10.3390/rs8010046

Seasonal Characterization of Solar Radiation Estimates Obtained from a MSG-SEVIRI-Derived Dataset and a RAMS-Based Operational Forecasting System over the Western Mediterranean Coast

1
Departament de Física de la Terra i Termodinàmica, Facultat de Física, Universitat de València, Doctor Moliner 50, Burjassot, Valencia 46100, Spain
2
Departament de Geografia, Facultat de Geografia i Història, Universitat de València, Avda. Blasco Ibáñez 28, Valencia 46010, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Richard Müller, Dongdong Wang and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 15 October 2015 / Revised: 23 December 2015 / Accepted: 29 December 2015 / Published: 7 January 2016
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Abstract

Solar radiation is a key factor in the Earth’s energy balance and it is used as a crucial input parameter in many disciplines such as ecology, agriculture, solar energy and hydrology. Thus, accurate information of the global downward surface shortwave flux integration into the grid is of significant importance. From the different strategies used for grid integration of the surface solar radiation estimates, satellite-derived and numerical weather prediction forecasts are two interesting alternatives. In the current work, we present a comprehensive evaluation of the global downward solar radiation forecasts provided by the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) and the Downwelling Surface Shortwave Flux (DSSF) product, derived from the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI). Both solar radiation estimates are compared to thirteen ground-based weather station measurements for the winter 2010–2011 and the summer 2011 seasons. For these periods, the most recent versions of RAMS (4.4 and 6.0) were running in parallel within the real-time weather forecasting system implemented over the Valencia Region. The solar radiation performance and accuracy are evaluated for these datasets segmented into two atmospheric conditions (clear and cloudy skies) and two terrain classes (flat and hilly). DSSF shows a very good agreement over the study area. Statistical daily evaluations show that corresponding errors vary between seasons, with absolute bias ranging from −30 to 40 W·m−2, absolute root mean square errors (RMSE) from 25 to 60 W·m−2, relative bias ranging from −11% to 7% and relative RMSE from 7% to 22%, depending on the sky condition and the terrain location as well, thus reproducing the observations more faithfully than RAMS, which produces higher errors in comparison to the measurements. In this regard, statistical daily evaluations show absolute bias values varying from −50 to 160 W·m−2, absolute RMSE from 60 to 240 W·m−2, relative bias ranging from −30% to 40% and relative RMSE from 10% to 80%, also depending on the daily initialization and the forecast horizon. This bias variability demonstrates that there is a different trend in the deviation of the model results in relation to the observations, both for the DSSF product and RAMS forecasts, and considering the summer and the winter seasons independently. In this regard, although there is an overestimation of the observed solar radiation within the summer months, this magnitude is underestimated during the winter. Finally, comparing this solar radiation estimates for different atmospheric conditions and different terrain classes, the best results are found under clear skies over flat terrain. This result is achieved using both methodologies. View Full-Text
Keywords: solar radiation; RAMS model; SEVIRI; DSSF; mesoscale modelling; numerical weather prediction/forecasting solar radiation; RAMS model; SEVIRI; DSSF; mesoscale modelling; numerical weather prediction/forecasting
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Gómez, I.; Caselles, V.; Estrela, M.J. Seasonal Characterization of Solar Radiation Estimates Obtained from a MSG-SEVIRI-Derived Dataset and a RAMS-Based Operational Forecasting System over the Western Mediterranean Coast. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 46.

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