Effects of the El Chichon Volcanic Cloud on Direct and Diffuse Solar Irradiances

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
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Abstract

Direct normal and diffuse solar irradiances and 500 nm aerosol optical depths measured at the University of Michigan departed far from normal on 26 October 1982, when it is concluded that the main stratospheric cloud from the El Chichon volcanic eruption arrived at the 42°N latitude of the radiation measurement facility. For clear-sky data analyzed through 19 January 1983, direct solar is about 25% less than normal and diffuse solar is about 85% greater. For the same aerosol optical depths and solar zenith angles, the ratio of diffuse to direct is about 30% greater for about 0.3 cm of precipitable water but nearly the same for 0.9 cm. Aerosol optical depths are nearly three times greater for wind directions that naturally advect the cleanest air. The effect of circumsolar irradiance on the methods used to measure direct normal and diffuse irradiances cause the former to be overestimated and the latter to be underestimated.

Abstract

Direct normal and diffuse solar irradiances and 500 nm aerosol optical depths measured at the University of Michigan departed far from normal on 26 October 1982, when it is concluded that the main stratospheric cloud from the El Chichon volcanic eruption arrived at the 42°N latitude of the radiation measurement facility. For clear-sky data analyzed through 19 January 1983, direct solar is about 25% less than normal and diffuse solar is about 85% greater. For the same aerosol optical depths and solar zenith angles, the ratio of diffuse to direct is about 30% greater for about 0.3 cm of precipitable water but nearly the same for 0.9 cm. Aerosol optical depths are nearly three times greater for wind directions that naturally advect the cleanest air. The effect of circumsolar irradiance on the methods used to measure direct normal and diffuse irradiances cause the former to be overestimated and the latter to be underestimated.

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