A New Algorithm for the Satellite-Based Retrieval of Solar Surface Irradiance in Spectral Bands

Remote Sensing, 2012, 4(3), 622-647

Richard Mueller, Tanja Behrendt, Annette Hammer, and Axel Kemper

“Accurate solar surface irradiance data is a prerequisite for an efficient planning and operation of solar energy systems. Further, it is essential for climate monitoring and analysis. Recently, the demand on information about spectrally resolved solar surface irradiance has grown. As surface measurements are rare, satellite derived information with high accuracy might fill this gap. This paper describes a new approach for the retrieval of spectrally resolved solar surface irradiance from satellite data.

“The method combines a eigenvector-hybrid look-up table approach for the clear sky case with satellite derived cloud transmission (Heliosat method). The eigenvector LUT approach is already used to retrieve the broadband solar surface irradiance of data sets provided by the Climate Monitoring Satellite Application Facility (CM-SAF). This paper describes the extension of this approach to wavelength bands and the combination with spectrally resolved cloud transmission values derived with radiative transfer corrections of the broadband cloud transmission. Thus, the new approach is based on radiative transfer modeling and enables the use of extended information about the atmospheric state, among others, to resolve the effect of water vapor and ozone absorption bands. The method is validated with spectrally resolved measurements from two sites in Europe and by comparison with radiative transfer calculations. The validation results demonstrate the ability of the method to retrieve accurate spectrally resolved irradiance from satellites. The accuracy is in the range of the uncertainty of surface measurements, with exception of the UV and NIR ( ≥ 1200 nm) part of the spectrum, where higher deviations occur.”