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Atmosphere 2015, 6(7), 863-878; doi:10.3390/atmos6070863

Towards Optimal Aerosol Information for the Retrieval of Solar Surface Radiation Using Heliosat

Deutscher Wetterdienst, Frankfurter Str. 135, D-60387 Offenbach, Germany
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Academic Editor: Sundar Christopher
Received: 1 April 2015 / Revised: 8 June 2015 / Accepted: 10 June 2015 / Published: 24 June 2015
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Abstract

High quality data of surface radiation is a prerequisite for climate monitoring (Earth radiation budget) and solar energy applications. A very common method to derive solar surface irradiance is the Heliosat method, a one channel approach for the retrieval of the effective cloud albedo (CAL). This information is then used to derive the solar surface irradiance by application of a clear sky model. The results of this study are based on radiative transfer modelling, visual inspection of satellite images and evaluation of satellite based solar surface radiation with ground measurements. The respective results provide evidence that variations in Aerosol Optical depth induced by desert storms and biomass burning events lead to a significant increase of the effective cloud albedo, thus, that certain aerosol events are interpreted as clouds by the method. For the estimation of the solar surface radiation aerosol information is needed as input for the clear sky model. As the aerosol effect is partly considered by CAL, there is a need to modify external aerosol information for the use within the clear sky model, e.g., by truncation of high aerosol loads. Indeed, it has been shown that a modified version of the Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate (MACC) aerosol information leads to better accuracy of the retrieved solar surface radiation than the original MACC data for the investigated 9 sites and time period (2006–2009). Further, the assumption of a constant aerosol optical depth of 0.18 provides also better accuracies of the estimated solar surface radiation than the original MACC data for the investigated sites and period. It is concluded that this is partly due to the consideration of scattering aerosols by the effective cloud albedo. View Full-Text
Keywords: solar surface radiation; radiative transfer modeling; interactions with atmosphere; cloud albedo retrieval; aerosol effect; aerosol clouds solar surface radiation; radiative transfer modeling; interactions with atmosphere; cloud albedo retrieval; aerosol effect; aerosol clouds
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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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MDPI and ACS Style

Mueller, R.; Pfeifroth, U.; Traeger-Chatterjee, C. Towards Optimal Aerosol Information for the Retrieval of Solar Surface Radiation Using Heliosat. Atmosphere 2015, 6, 863-878.

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