Intraregional Variations of Solar Radiation in the Eastern United States

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  • 1 The Center for the Environment and Man, Inc., Hartford, CT 06120
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Abstract

Data generated by a physically based solar radiation model, consisting of hourly values of total and direct-beam solar radiation, were computed at nearly 50 stations in the United States for the years 1971 and 1972. The radiation model used in the computations includes the effects of Rayleigh scattering, absorption by water vapor and permanent gases, and absorption and scattering by clouds and aerosols. Random and systematic variations of total solar radiation are presented in the eastern United States. Errors in computed radiation on a daily basis were less than distance-induced random variations for distances ≳100 km. Systematic intraregional differences in monthly solar radiation of between 15 and 30% were computed within distances of 200 km in the eastern United States. The spatial distribution of total solar radiation is significantly influenced by coastal-inland and urban-rural climatic differences with radiation minima computed for some large cities.

Abstract

Data generated by a physically based solar radiation model, consisting of hourly values of total and direct-beam solar radiation, were computed at nearly 50 stations in the United States for the years 1971 and 1972. The radiation model used in the computations includes the effects of Rayleigh scattering, absorption by water vapor and permanent gases, and absorption and scattering by clouds and aerosols. Random and systematic variations of total solar radiation are presented in the eastern United States. Errors in computed radiation on a daily basis were less than distance-induced random variations for distances ≳100 km. Systematic intraregional differences in monthly solar radiation of between 15 and 30% were computed within distances of 200 km in the eastern United States. The spatial distribution of total solar radiation is significantly influenced by coastal-inland and urban-rural climatic differences with radiation minima computed for some large cities.

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