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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
22 Mar 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
Dust impact on surface solar irradiance assessed with model simulations, satellite observations and ground-based measurements
Panagiotis G. Kosmopoulos1,2, Stelios Kazadzis3, Michael Taylor2, Eleni Athanasopoulou1, Orestis Speyer1, Panagiotis I. Raptis1, Eleni Marinou2,4, Emmanouil Proestakis4,5, Stavros Solomos4, Evangelos Gerasopoulos1,6, Vassilis Amiridis4, Alkiviadis Bais2, and Charalabos Kontoes4 1Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development, National Observatory of Athens, Greece
2Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
3Physicalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos, World Radiation Center, Switzerland
4Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing, National Observatory of Athens, Greece
5Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics, Department of Physics, University of Patras , Greece
6Navarino Environmental Observatory, Messenia, Greece
Abstract. This study assesses the impact of dust on surface solar radiation focussing on an extreme dust event. For this purpose, we exploited the synergy of AERONET measurements and passive and active satellite remote sensing (MODIS and CALIPSO) observations, in conjunction with radiative transfer model (RTM) and chemical transport model (CTM) simulations and the 1-day ahead forecasts from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS). The area of interest is the eastern Mediterranean where anomalously high aerosol loads were recorded between the 30 January and 3 February 2015. The intensity of the event was extremely high, with aerosol optical depth (AOD) reaching 3.5, and optical/microphysical properties suggesting aged dust. RTM and CTM simulations were able to quantify the extent of dust impact on surface irradiances and reveal substantial reduction in solar energy exploitation capacity of PV and CSP installations, under this high aerosol load. We found that such an extreme dust event can result to Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI) attenuation by as much as 40–50 %, a much stronger Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) decrease (80–90 %), while spectrally this attenuation is distributed to 37 % in the UV region, 33 % to the visible and around 30 % to the infrared. CAMS forecasts provided a reliable available energy assessment (accuracy within 10 % of that obtained from MODIS). Spatially, the dust plume resulted in a zonally-averaged reduction of GHI and DNI of the order of 150 W/m2 in southern Greece, and a mean increase of 20 W/m2 in the northern Greece as a result of lower AOD values combined with local atmospheric processes. This analysis of a real-world scenario contributes to the understanding and quantification of impact range of high aerosol loads on solar energy and the potential for forecasting power generation failures at sunshine-privileged locations where solar power plants exist, are under construction, or being planned.

Citation: Kosmopoulos, P. G., Kazadzis, S., Taylor, M., Athanasopoulou, E., Speyer, O., Raptis, P. I., Marinou, E., Proestakis, E., Solomos, S., Gerasopoulos, E., Amiridis, V., Bais, A., and Kontoes, C.: Dust impact on surface solar irradiance assessed with model simulations, satellite observations and ground-based measurements, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., doi:10.5194/amt-2017-79, in review, 2017.
Panagiotis G. Kosmopoulos et al.
Panagiotis G. Kosmopoulos et al.
Panagiotis G. Kosmopoulos et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We study the impact of dust on solar energy using remote sensing data, in conjunction with synergistic modelling and forecasting techniques. Under high aerosol loads, we found great solar energy losses of the order of 80 and 50 % for concentrated solar power and photovoltaic installations, respectively. The one day-ahead forecast, presented an overall accuracy within 10 % in direct comparison to the real conditions under high energy potential, optimizing the efficient energy planning and policies.
We study the impact of dust on solar energy using remote sensing data, in conjunction with...