Comparison of hourly surface downwelling solar radiation estimated from MSG/SEVIRI and forecast by RAMS model with pyranometers over Italy

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Federico, Stefano ; Torcasio, Rosa Claudia ; Sanò, Paolo ; Casella, Daniele ; Campanelli, Monica ; Meirink, Jan Fokke ; Wang, Ping ; Vergari, Stefania ; Diémoz, Henri ; Dietrich, Stefano (2017)

In this paper, we evaluate the performance of two Global Horizontal solar Irradiance (GHI) estimates, one derived from Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) and another from one-day forecast of the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) mesoscale model. The horizontal resolution of the MSG-GHI is 3*5&thinsp;km<sup>2</sup> over Italy, which is the focus area of this study. For this paper, RAMS has the horizontal resolution of 4&thinsp;km. The performance of MSG-GHI estimate and RAMS-GHI one-day forecast are evaluated for one year (1 June 2013&ndash;31 May 2014) against data of twelve ground based pyranometers over Italy spanning a range of climatic conditions, i.e. from maritime Mediterranean to Alpine climate. Statistics on hourly GHI and daily integrated GHI are presented for the four seasons and the whole year for all the measurement sites. Different sky conditions are considered in the analysis. Results on hourly data show an evident dependence on the sky conditions, with the Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) increasing from clear to contaminated, and to overcast conditions. The RMSE increases substantially for Alpine stations in all the seasons, mainly because of the increase of the cloud coverage for these stations, which is not well represented at the satellite and model resolutions. Considering the yearly statistics for the RAMS model, the RMSE ranges from 152&thinsp;W/m<sup>2</sup> (31&thinsp;%) obtained for Cozzo Spadaro, a maritime station, to 287&thinsp;W/m<sup>2</sup> (82&thinsp;%) for Aosta, an Alpine site. Considering the yearly statistics for MSG-GHI, the minimum RMSE is for Cozzo Spadaro (71&thinsp;W/m<sup>2</sup> , 14&thinsp;%), while the maximum is for Aosta (181&thinsp;W/m<sup>2</sup> , 51&thinsp;%). The Mean Bias Error (MBE) shows the tendency of RAMS to over forecast the GHI, while no specific tendency if found for MSG-GHI. Results for daily integrated GHI show a reduction of the RMSE of at least 10&thinsp;%, compared to hourly GHI evaluation, for both RAMS-GHI one-day forecast and MSG-GHI estimate. A partial compensation of underestimation and overestimation of the GHI contributes to the RMSE reduction. Furthermore, a post-processing technique, namely Model Output Statistics (MOS), is applied to hourly and daily integrated GHI. The application of MOS shows an improvement for RAMS-GHI up to 24&thinsp;%, depending on the site considered, while the impact of MOS on MSG-GHI RMSE is small (2&ndash;3&thinsp;%).
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