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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 4 | Copyright

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

Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 2501-2521, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 27 Apr 2018

Research article | 27 Apr 2018

Evaluation of Himawari-8 surface downwelling solar radiation by ground-based measurements

Alessandro Damiani1, Hitoshi Irie1, Takashi Horio1, Tamio Takamura1, Pradeep Khatri2, Hideaki Takenaka3, Takashi Nagao3, Takashi Y. Nakajima4, and Raul R. Cordero5 Alessandro Damiani et al.
  • 1CEReS, Chiba University, Chiba, 263-8522, Japan
  • 2Center for Atmospheric and Oceanic Studies, Tohoku University, Sendai, 980-8578, Japan
  • 3Earth Observation Research Center, JAXA, Tsukuba, 305-0047, Japan
  • 4Research and Information Center, Tokai University, Tokyo, 151-0063, Japan
  • 5Department of Physics, Santiago University, Santiago de Chile, 8320000, Chile

Abstract. Observations from the new Japanese geostationary satellite Himawari-8 permit quasi-real-time estimation of global shortwave radiation at an unprecedented temporal resolution. However, accurate comparisons with ground-truthing observations are essential to assess their uncertainty. In this study, we evaluated the Himawari-8 global radiation product AMATERASS using observations recorded at four SKYNET stations in Japan and, for certain analyses, from the surface network of the Japanese Meteorological Agency in 2016. We found that the spatiotemporal variability of the satellite estimates was smaller than that of the ground observations; variability decreased with increases in the time step and spatial domain. Cloud variability was the main source of uncertainty in the satellite radiation estimates, followed by direct effects caused by aerosols and bright albedo. Under all-sky conditions, good agreement was found between satellite and ground-based data, with a mean bias in the range of 20–30Wm−2 (i.e., AMATERASS overestimated ground observations) and a root mean square error (RMSE) of approximately 70–80Wm−2. However, results depended on the time step used in the validation exercise, on the spatial domain, and on the different climatological regions. In particular, the validation performed at 2.5min showed largest deviations and RMSE values ranging from about 110Wm−2 for the mainland to a maximum of 150Wm−2 in the subtropical region. We also detected a limited overestimation in the number of clear-sky episodes, particularly at the pixel level. Overall, satellite-based estimates were higher under overcast conditions, whereas frequent episodes of cloud-induced enhanced surface radiation (i.e., measured radiation was greater than expected clear-sky radiation) tended to reduce this difference. Finally, the total mean bias was approximately 10–15Wm−2 under clear-sky conditions, mainly because of overall instantaneous direct aerosol forcing efficiency in the range of 120–150Wm−2 per unit of aerosol optical depth (AOD). A seasonal anticorrelation between AOD and global radiation differences was evident at all stations and was also observed within the diurnal cycle.

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Short summary
The Tohoku Earthquake of March 2011 stressed the need for energy source diversity, and the governmental policy in Japan has been stimulating a broader use of renewable energy. Solar power is potentially able to mitigate climate change triggered by greenhouse gas emissions, but its instability caused by cloudiness is a critical issue for suppliers. To develop an appropriate control system, surface solar radiation data must be made available as accurately as possible.
The Tohoku Earthquake of March 2011 stressed the need for energy source diversity, and the...