Satellite-based trends of solar radiation and cloud parameters in Europe
- 1Satellite-based Climate Monitoring Department, Deutscher Wetterdienst, Offenbach, Germany
- 2Remote Sensing Centre, Institute of Geodesy and Cartography, Warsaw, Poland
- 3Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium, Remote Sensing from Space, Brussels, Belgium
- 4Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, ISAC-CNR, Bologna, Italy
- 5Department of Physics, University of Extremadura, Badajoz, Spain
Abstract. Solar radiation is the main driver of the Earth's climate. Measuring solar radiation and analysing its interaction with clouds are essential for the understanding of the climate system. The EUMETSAT Satellite Application Facility on Climate Monitoring (CM SAF) generates satellite-based, high-quality climate data records, with a focus on the energy balance and water cycle. Here, multiple of these data records are analyzed in a common framework to assess the consistency in trends and spatio-temporal variability of surface solar radiation, top-of-atmosphere reflected solar radiation and cloud fraction. This multi-parameter analysis focuses on Europe and covers the time period from 1992 to 2015. A high correlation between these three variables has been found over Europe. An overall consistency of the climate data records reveals an increase of surface solar radiation and a decrease in top-of-atmosphere reflected radiation. In addition, those trends are confirmed by negative trends in cloud cover. This consistency documents the high quality and stability of the CM SAF climate data records, which are mostly derived independently from each other. The results of this study indicate that one of the main reasons for the positive trend in surface solar radiation since the 1990's is a decrease in cloud coverage even if an aerosol contribution cannot be completely ruled out.