Satellite Retrieval of Downwelling Shortwave Surface Flux and Diffuse Fraction under All Sky Conditions in the Framework of the LSA SAF Program (Part 2: Evaluation)

Carrer, Dominique ; Moparthy, Suman ; Vincent, Chloé ; Ceamanos, Xavier ; C. Freitas, Sandra ; Trigo, Isabel F.

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<p align=justify>High frequency knowledge of the spatio-temporal distribution of the downwelling surface shortwave flux (DSSF) and its diffuse fraction (fd) at the surface is nowadays essential for understanding climate processes at the surface-atmosphere interface, plant photosynthesis and carbon cycle, and for the solar energy sector. The European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) Satellite Application Facility for Land Surface Analysis operationally delivers estimation of the MDSSFTD (MSG Downwelling Surface Short-wave radiation Fluxes-Total and Diffuse fraction) product with an operational status since the year 2019. The method for retrieval was presented in a companion paper. Part 2 now focuses on the evaluation of the MDSSFTD algorithm and presents a comparison of the corresponding outputs, i.e., total DSSF and diffuse fraction (fd) components, against in situ measurements acquired at four Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN) stations over a seven-month period. The validation is performed on an instantaneous basis. We show that the satellite estimates of DSSF and fd meet the target requirements defined by the user community for all-sky (clear and cloudy) conditions. For DSSF, the requirements are 20 Wm−2 for DSSF < 200 Wm−2, and 10% for DSSF ≥ 200 Wm−2. The mean bias error (MBE) and relative mean bias error (rMBE) compared to the ground measurements are 3.618 Wm−2 and 0.252%, respectively. For fd, the requirements are 0.1 for fd < 0.5, and 20% for fd ≥ 0.5. The MBE and rMBE compared to the ground measurements are −0.044% and −17.699%, respectively. The study also provides a separate analysis of the product performances for clear sky and cloudy sky conditions. The importance of representing the cloud-aerosol radiative coupling in the MDSSFTD method is discussed. Finally, it is concluded that the quality of the aerosol optical depth (AOD) forecasts currently available is accurate enough to obtain reliable diffuse solar flux estimates. This quality of AOD forecasts was still a limitation a few years ago.</p>
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