Cloud and radiance measurements with the VIS/NIR Daylight Whole Sky Imager at Lindenberg (Germany)
Feister, Uwe; Shields, Janet
Ground-based cloud data acquired with the Whole Sky Imager (WSI) are analyzed in relation to measurements of solar radiation performed at the Lindenberg Meteorological Observatory. Cloud fractions derived by the cloud detection algorithm from WSI images acquired during daylight hours between 2002 and 2004 are compared with conventional cloud observations for the two sites Potsdam and Lindenberg, and also with ceilometer data of cloud-base heights at Lindenberg. The comparison statistics are discussed in the context of different principles of measurement. A few case studies illustrate the strong scattering effect of clouds on solar radiance and irradiance measured at the ground in different spectral regions. Particularly clouds close to the apparent position of the sun lead to strong enhancements of solar diffuse irradiance incident on horizontal planes and hemispheres that substantially exceed corresponding clear-sky values. Irradiances derived from WSI sky radiance fields are shown in comparison to pyranometer data of diffuse irradiance and radiative transfer model calculations performed for clear sky conditions. Examples of spectral sky radiances with moving contrails illustrate the significant enhancement the contrails have compared to clear sky, even though they may have a relatively small direct effect on global irradiance values. As contrails are observed at Lindenberg for about 18 to 19 % of daylight hours, and part of them become clouds, the indirect impact of these changes on solar irradiance received at the ground may not be negligible.