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Surface radiation observed from space


Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) are also based on satellite data which provide, in particular, information on energy and water cycle systems, such as parameters related to Earth radiation, cloud properties and precipitation. The resulting climate datasets of, for instance, solar radiation, precipitation and cloud albedo, cover Europe in its entirety at high spatial resolution for a time period of more than 20 years.

Satellite-based radiation data are also required for environmental and economic purposes, for instance, the planning and monitoring of solar energy systems.

Within the EURO4M project KNMI delivers data sets of surface solar incoming radiation, precipitation and cloud properties retrieved from SEVIRI satellite data. The algorithm used to estimate surface solar incoming radiation is improved by decomposing the radiation into its direct and diffuse component, by considering the effect of aerosol variations and by using a better dataset of the surface albedo. The estimates of surface solar incoming radiation are validated by comparison with ground-based measurements.

Verification of the SICCS algorithm
Verification of the SICCS algorithm (Surface Insolation in Cloudy Conditions from METEOSAT SEVIRI Imagery) using observations from Cabauw (left) end Carpentras (right). Upper figures for clear sky cases, lower figures for clear and cloudy cases (Source: KNMI).


Resulting maps of annual mean global irradiance, such as the map of the Netherlands in the figure below, feature subtle and realistic details.

Map of annual mean surface solar incoming radiation in the Netherlands
Map of annual mean surface solar incoming radiation in the Netherlands for 2008 and 2009 based on Seviri satellite data. A comparison with ground-based measurements indicates that the subtle spatial details are realistic (Source: KNMI).


 
Trend in solar cloud forcing derived from Heliosat data
Trend in solar cloud forcing derived from Heliosat data (1995 - 2005) for Central Europe. Trend information over the ocean is extremely important since energy uptake over de ocean is larger than over land. (source: University of Oldenburg, Germany)

Solar surface irradiance map for the planning and monitoring of solar energy systems
Solar surface irradiance map for the planning and monitoring of solar energy systems. This figure is an example based on CM-SAF data showing the solar energy in kWh/m² that was available between August 2005 and July 2006. (source: DWD)