Solar surface irradiance is an important variable in many different fields, e.g., climate monitoring and solar energy. Remote sensing data are nowadays well established and the only observational data source in many regions of the world. Aerosols significantly affect the clear sky radiation and hence also the all sky radiation. In order to achieve the optimal accuracy for surface radiation, information of aerosols with low uncertainty is needed. In this study, the effect of four different aerosol climatologies on the solar surface radiation have been evaluated for the period 2006–2009 at nine BSRN stations. The use of the aerosol climatology from the European Center of Medium Weather Forecast (MACC) leads to the highest accuracy of solar radiation. The mean absolute bias is 6.8 Watt per square meter for global irradiance and 11.3 for direct irradiance. With the Max-Planck climatology (MAC-v1) 9.4 and 14.8 Watt per square meter and with GADS/OPAC (Global Aerosol Data Set/Optical Properties of Aerosols and Clouds) 10.0 and 14.6 Watt per square meter have been achieved, respectively. The improvement in the accuracy of solar radiation by using the MACC climatology is relatively large. Also remarkable is that the new MAC-v1 climatology and the older GADS/OPAC climatology performs on the same level with respect to the achieved accuracy in radiation. The effect of interannual variations of Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) on the global irradiance is rather low for the investigated sites and period.
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