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Study of Atmospheric Turbidity in a Northern Tropical Region Using Models and Measurements of Global Solar Radiation

Abstract : Radiative transfer in the Earth’s atmosphere under clear-sky conditions strongly depends on turbidity due to aerosols and hydrometeors. It is therefore important to know its temporal radiative properties for a given site when the objective is to optimize the solar energy that is collected there. Turbidity can be studied via measurements and models of the global solar radiation reaching the ground in cloudless conditions. These models generally depend on two parameters, namely the Angström turbidity coefficient and the Linke factor. This article aims to do a comparative study of five models of global solar radiation, all dependent on the Linke factor, based on real data. The measurements are provided by the Tamanrasset Meteorological Center (Algeria), which has a long series of global solar radiation data recorded between 2005 and 2011. Additional data from AERONET and MODIS onboard the TERRA satellite were also used to perform the comparison between the two estimated parameters and those obtained from AERONET. The study shows that the ESRA models are the most reliable among the five models for estimating the Linke factor with a correlation coefficient R of the data fits of 0.9995, a RMSE of 13.44 W/m2, a MBE of −0.64 W/m2 and a MAPE of 6.44%. The maximum and minimum statistical values were reached, respectively, in June and during the autumn months. The best correlation is also observed in the case of ESRA models between the Linke parameter and the joint optical thickness of aerosols and the total column-integrated water vapor. The Angström turbidity coefficient β, calculated from the Linke factor and MODIS data, has values less than 0.02 at 9% of the cases, and 76% present values ranging between 0.02 and 0.15 and 13% higher than 0.15. These β values are validated by AERONET measurements since a very good correlation (R ≈ 0.87) is observed between the two datasets. The temporal variations of β also show a maximum in June. Satellite observations confirm more aerosols during the summer season, which are mostly related to the African monsoon.
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Mohamed Zaiani, Abdanour Irbah, Djelloul Djafer, Constantino Listowski, Julien Delanoë, et al.. Study of Atmospheric Turbidity in a Northern Tropical Region Using Models and Measurements of Global Solar Radiation. Remote Sensing, MDPI, 2021, 13, pp.2271. ⟨10.3390/rs13122271⟩. ⟨insu-03258792⟩

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