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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 10, issue 7 | Copyright

Special issue: SKYNET – the international network for aerosol, clouds,...

Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 2435-2453, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-10-2435-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 11 Jul 2017

Research article | 11 Jul 2017

Dust impact on surface solar irradiance assessed with model simulations, satellite observations and ground-based measurements

Panagiotis G. Kosmopoulos1,2, Stelios Kazadzis3, Michael Taylor2, Eleni Athanasopoulou1, Orestis Speyer1, Panagiotis I. Raptis1,3, Eleni Marinou2,4, Emmanouil Proestakis4,5, Stavros Solomos4, Evangelos Gerasopoulos1,6, Vassilis Amiridis4, Alkiviadis Bais2, and Charalabos Kontoes4 Panagiotis G. Kosmopoulos et al.
  • 1Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development, National Observatory of Athens, Athens, Greece
  • 2Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • 3Physicalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos, World Radiation Center, Davos, Switzerland
  • 4Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing, National Observatory of Athens, Athens, Greece
  • 5Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics, Department of Physics, University of Patras, Patras, Greece
  • 6Navarino Environmental Observatory, Messenia, Greece

Abstract. This study assesses the impact of dust on surface solar radiation focussing on an extreme dust event. For this purpose, we exploited the synergy of AERONET measurements and passive and active satellite remote sensing (MODIS and CALIPSO) observations, in conjunction with radiative transfer model (RTM) and chemical transport model (CTM) simulations and the 1-day forecasts from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS). The area of interest is the eastern Mediterranean where anomalously high aerosol loads were recorded between 30 January and 3 February 2015. The intensity of the event was extremely high, with aerosol optical depth (AOD) reaching 3.5, and optical/microphysical properties suggesting aged dust. RTM and CTM simulations were able to quantify the extent of dust impact on surface irradiances and reveal substantial reduction in solar energy exploitation capacity of PV and CSP installations under this high aerosol load. We found that such an extreme dust event can result in Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI) attenuation by as much as 40–50% and a much stronger Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) decrease (80–90%), while spectrally this attenuation is distributed to 37% in the UV region, 33% in the visible and around 30% in the infrared. CAMS forecasts provided a reliable available energy assessment (accuracy within 10% of that obtained from MODIS). Spatially, the dust plume resulted in a zonally averaged reduction of GHI and DNI of the order of 150W m−2 in southern Greece, and a mean increase of 20W m−2 in the northern Greece as a result of lower AOD values combined with local atmospheric processes. This analysis of a real-world scenario contributes to the understanding and quantification of the impact range of high aerosol loads on solar energy and the potential for forecasting power generation failures at sunshine-privileged locations where solar power plants exist, are under construction or are being planned.

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We study the impact of dust on solar energy using remote sensing data in conjunction with synergistic modelling and forecasting techniques. Under high aerosol loads, we found great solar energy losses of the order of 80 and 50% for concentrated solar power and photovoltaic installations, respectively. The 1-day forecast presented an overall accuracy within 10% in direct comparison to the real conditions under high energy potential, optimising the efficient energy planning and policies.
We study the impact of dust on solar energy using remote sensing data in conjunction with...
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