Modeling Solar Radiation at the Earth’s Surface

Secondary Data Sources

Appropriate models are now widely used to fill gaps in measured data, expand their measurement period (to, e. g., 30 years), and estimate solar radiation either at specific sites where only other meteorological data are available, or at the world or continent scale using gridded satellite data. Although such datasets may contain some mea­sured radiation data, the bulk of their content is always modeled values. However, they are usually merged with other meteorological data, which is highly useful in most applications. Examples of such datasets are given below.

Europe has been very active about collecting measured radiation data, supple­menting them with models, and developing solar maps since the late 1970s. Suc­cessive editions of the European Solar Radiation Atlas have appeared. Information about the latest edition can be found from HelioClim (http://www. helioclim. org).

Other European-based data sources (for Europe or the world) include SoDa (http:// www. soda-is. com), Satel-Light (http://www. satel-light. com), DLR-ISIS (http:// www. pa. op. dlr. de/ISIS), SOLEMI (http://www. solemi. com), and Meteonorm (http:// www. meteonorm. com). (Note that some of them are of a commercial nature.) Radi­ation datasets and maps for other continents have been recently developed through the international SWERA project (http://swera. unep. net). Daily solar radiation maps are also available for Australia (http://www. bom. gov. au/ reguser/by_prod/radiation) and Scandinavia (http://produkter. smhi. se/strang).

In North America, the most important sources of data and maps are from NREL (http://rredc. nrel. gov/solar/old_data/nsrdb; http://www. nrel. gov/gis/solar. html),

NASA (http://earth-www. larc. nasa. gov/solar; http://power. larc. nasa. gov; http://data. giss. nasa. gov/seawifs; http://eosweb. larc. nasa. gov/PRODOCS/srb/table_srb. html; http://flashflux. larc. nasa. gov), and Environment Canada (http:// www. ec. gc. ca).

Finally, convenient sites centralize links to various sources of world weather data for building applications (http://www. eere. energy. gov/buildings/energyplus/cfm/ weather_data. cfm) or photovoltaic applications (http://re. jrc. cec. eu. int/pvgis/solrad/ index. htm).

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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