Modeling Solar Radiation at the Earth’s Surface


We urge the reader to remember, as he or she studies the rest of this book, that there are no perfect measurements. However, the field of solar radiometry has critically progressed in the last few years, resulting in significantly improved measurement quality at research-class sites. Much more work yet needs to be done to obtain bet­ter instruments, reference scales, calibrations, characterizations, and corrections for measuring solar radiation accurately in the field, and improve the data quality at the vast majority of sites that still rely on suboptimal experimental techniques.

The basic uncertainties in the best practical solar radiation data available to­day are still on the order of 3% in direct beam, 5% in total global horizontal, 3% ±2Wm~2 in diffuse horizontal irradiance (measured with a black-and-white or cor­rected all-black pyranometer), 15% to 20% in diffuse radiation measured with un­corrected all-black pyranometers behind a shadow band, and perhaps 5 to 20% in sunshine duration, for digital (including pyrheliometer) and analog (burning) sun­shine recorders, respectively. For the future, we can only hope for better models through better instrumentation and improved measurement techniques.

Modeling Solar Radiation at the Earth’s Surface

Quality Assessment Based Upon Comparison with Models

Many models based on the physics of radiation transfer through the clear atmo­sphere have been developed (Lacis and Hansen 1974; Atwater and Ball 1978; Hoyt 1978; Bird and Hulstrom 1981a, …

Solar Horizontal Diffuse and Beam Irradiation on Clear Days

There exist a number of models to determine the solar horizontal diffuse irradia­tion on a clear day (Kondratyev 1969) but they are complex and have very stringent conditions. Similarly, there …


Reading the twenty chapters of this book caused me mixed reactions, though all were positive. My responses were shaped by several factors. Although I have main­tained a “watching brief’ on …

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