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John A. Augustine, Gary B. Hodges, Christopher R. Cornwall, Joseph J. Michalsky, and Carlos I. Medina

Abstract

The Surface Radiation budget (SURFRAD) network was developed for the United States in the middle 1990s in response to a growing need for more sophisticated in situ surface radiation measurements to support satellite system validation; numerical model verification; and modern climate, weather, and hydrology research applications. Operational data collection began in 1995 with four stations; two stations were added in 1998. Since its formal introduction to the research community in 2000, several additions and improvements have been made to the network’s products and infrastructure. To better represent the climate types of the United States, a seventh SURFRAD station was installed near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in June 2003. In 2001, the instrument used for the diffuse solar measurement was replaced with a type of pyranometer that does not have a bias associated with infrared radiative cooling of its receiving surface. Subsequently, biased diffuse solar data from 1996 to 2001 were corrected using a generally accepted method. Other improvements include the implementation of a clear-sky diagnostic algorithm and associated products, better continuity in the ultraviolet-B (UVB) data record, a reduced potential for error in the downwelling infrared measurements, and development of an aerosol optical depth algorithm. Of these, only the aerosol optical depth product has yet to be finalized. All SURFRAD stations are members of the international Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN). Data are submitted regularly in monthly segments to the BSRN archive in Zurich, Switzerland. Through this affiliation, the SURFRAD network became an official part of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) in April 2004.

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