IEM Daily Feature
Wednesday, 12 April 2023

Which model for radiation?

Posted: 12 Apr 2023 05:30 AM

Received solar radiation is an important variable for many applications including crop growth models and balancing the surface energy budget. Long term and high quality observed solar radiation datasets are extremely rare. A number of reanalysis style model approaches have come into vogue recently and offer such a variable at high spatial and temporal resolution. The IEM processes a number of these and does model grid cell sampling to make available for download along with the long term tracked climate sites. The featured chart compares three of these models and a weather forecast model (hourly HRRR 0-1 hour forecast) for Ames. The left panel shows the range of daily values for ERA5 Land since 1951, a simple smoothed average, and 2023 daily data. The right panels compare the daily values between the various models. So which one is right and which should you use? There's not a simple answer here and the reanalysis datasets have various availability delays to make them not useful for realtime needs (that's why the HRRR data is included as it is "real-time"). With data back to 1951, the ERA5 Land data does look rather intriguing and something you should definitely evaluate for your usage!

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Tags:   solarradiation