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Jinhuan Qiu, Xiangao Xia, Jianghui Bai, Pucai Wang, Xuemei Zong, and Daren Lu

Abstract

A method is proposed to simultaneously calibrate shortwave (0.3–4 μm) global, direct, and scattering solar irradiance (GSI, DSI, and SSI, respectively) measurements. The method uses the World Radiation Reference (WRR) as a calibration standard and on-site radiation measurements as inputs. Two simple but effective techniques are used in the calibration. The first is to scale SSI and GSI detection sensitivities under overcast skies, which is based on the assumption that SSI should be equal to GSI if DSI is completely scattered and absorbed. The second is a new method to retrieve aerosol optical thickness (AOT), using the ratio of horizontal DSI (HDSI) to GSI measurements under clear and clean conditions. Thereafter, retrieved AOTs are used to drive a radiative transfer model to calculate atmospheric transmittance and then a ratio of GSI to the transmittance. Deviation of this ratio to the WRR is regarded as an indicator of GSI uncertainty, and the calibration transfer coefficient is derived as the WRR ratio. The method is applied to calibrate radiation measurements at Xianghe, China, during 2005. It is estimated from the derived transfer coefficients on 36 clear and clean days that uncertainties of DSI, GSI, and SSI measurements are within −4.0% to 2.9%, −5.9% to 2.4%, and −6.1% to 4.9%, respectively. The calibration is further validated based on comparisons of AOT at 750 nm retrieved from HDSI/GSI to Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) AOT products. The maximum deviation between two AOT products is 0.026. The unique advantage of this method lies in its potential applications in correcting historic radiation measurements and monitoring radiometer performance.

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