Comparison of spectral direct and diffuse solar irradiance measurements and calculations for cloud-free conditions

Author: Eli J. Mlawer, P. D. Brown and S. A. Clough
January 3, 2000
Journal Article
Geophysical Research Letters

Mlawer, E. J., P. D. Brown, S. A. Clough, L. C. Harrison, J. J. Michalsky, P. W. Kiedron and T. Shippert (2000), Comparison of Spectral Direct and Diffuse Solar Irradiance Measurements and Calculations for Cloud-Free Conditions, Geophysical Research Letters, 27(17), 2653-2656.

Ground‐based spectral measurements of direct and diffuse solar irradiance from the Rotating Shadowband Spectroradiometer, taken in cloud‐free conditions in Oklahoma in the fall of 1997, are compared over the spectral range 10000–28500 cm−1 to corresponding calculations by an accurate multiple‐scattering radiative transfer model. For each case analyzed, the aerosol optical depths used in the calculation were determined by fitting an Angstrom relation based on the ratio of the direct‐beam measurements to a direct‐beam calculation with no aerosols present. Also used in the calculation was a spectrally‐independent aerosol single‐scattering albedo chosen to provide agreement with the diffuse measurements. The spectral agreement between the measurements and calculations for the direct and diffuse irradiances is very good, providing strong evidence that in this spectral range there are no unmodeled molecular absorbers of significance to the atmospheric energy balance. Especially notable is the correspondence between the observations and calculations for a case characterized by a large amount of water vapor in the direct‐beam path, directly contradicting the suggestion that water vapor absorbs more shortwave radiation than is represented in radiative transfer models.