Articles | Volume 6, issue 1
03 Aug 2011
 | 03 Aug 2011

Solar irradiance in clear atmosphere: study of parameterisations of change with altitude

A. Oumbe, Ph. Blanc, B. Gschwind, M. Lefevre, Z. Qu, M. Schroedter-Homscheidt, and L. Wald

Abstract. Parameterisation of changes of the solar irradiance at ground level with a specific variable (e.g. solar zenithal angle, aerosol optical depth, altitude, etc.) is often used in operational processes because it saves computational time. This paper deals with the modelling of the vertical profile of downwelling solar irradiance for the first two kilometres above ground in clear sky conditions. Two analytical parameterisations are evaluated for direct and global irradiance in spectral bands as well as for the total irradiance. These parameterisations reproduce the vertical profile with good accuracy for global spectral irradiance and are less accurate for direct component, especially in turbid atmosphere. A piecewise linear interpolation technique using irradiance values known at surface and 4 altitudes every 500 m performs better in any case.