Smart approaches for evaluating photosynthetically active radiation at various stations based on MSG prime satellite imagery

Claire Thomas, William Wandji Nyamsi, Antti Arola, Uwe Pfeifroth, Jörg Trentmann, Stephen Dorling, Agustín Laguarda, Milan Fischer, Alexandr Aculinin

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Abstract

Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) is the 400–700 nm portion of the solar radiation spectrum that photoautotrophic organisms including plants, algae, and cyanobacteria use for photosynthesis. PAR is a key variable in global ecosystem and Earth system modeling, playing a prominent role in carbon and water cycling. Alongside air temperature, water availability, and atmospheric CO2 concentration, PAR controls photosynthesis and consequently biomass productivity in general. The management of agricultural and horticultural crops, forests, grasslands, and even grasses at sports venues is a non-exhaustive list of applications for which an accurate knowledge of the PAR resource is desirable. Modern agrivoltaic systems also require a good knowledge of PAR in conjunction with the variables needed to monitor the co-located photovoltaic system. In situ quality-controlled PAR sensors provide high-quality information for specific locations. However, due to associated installation and maintenance costs, such high-quality data are relatively scarce and generally extend over a restricted and sometimes non-continuous period. Numerous studies have already demonstrated the potential offered by surface radiation estimates based on satellite information as reliable alternatives to in situ measurements. The accuracy of these estimations is site-dependent and is related, for example, to the local climate, landscape, and viewing angle of the satellite. To assess the accuracy of PAR satellite models, we inter-compared 11 methods for estimating 30 min surface PAR based on satellite-derived estimations at 33 ground-based station locations over several climate regions in Europe, Africa, and South America. Averaged across stations, the results showed average relative biases (relative to the measurement mean) across methods of 1 to 20%, an average relative standard deviation of 25 to 30%, an average relative root mean square error of 25% to 35% and a correlation coefficient always above 0.95 for all methods. Improved performance was seen for all methods at relatively cloud-free sites, and quality degraded towards the edge of the Meteosat Second Generation viewing area. A good compromise between computational time, memory allocation, and performance was achieved for most locations using the Jacovides coefficient applied to the global horizontal irradiance from HelioClim-3 or the CAMS Radiation Service. In conclusion, satellite estimations can provide a reliable alternative estimation of ground-based PAR for most applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1259
JournalAtmosphere
Volume14
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2023

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