An Efficient Method to Identify Uncertainties of WRF-Solar Variables in Forecasting Solar Irradiance Using a Tangent Linear Sensitivity Analysis

Jaemo Yang, Ju-Hye Kim, Pedro Jimenez, Manajit Sengupta, Jimy Dudhia, Yu Xie, Anastasios Golnas, Ralf Giering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus Citations

Abstract

Uncertainty in predicting solar energy resources introduces major challenges in power system management and necessitates the development of reliable probabilistic solar forecasts. As the first part of the development of probabilistic forecasts based on the Weather Research and Forecasting model with solar extensions (WRF-Solar), this study presents a tangent linear approach to identify input variables responsible for the largest uncertainties in predicting surface solar irradiance and clouds. A tangent linear analysis is capable of efficiently investigating sensitivities of output variables with respect to various input variables of WRF-Solar because this approach avoids the computational burden of perturbing the initial conditions of individual input variables. We develop tangent linear models (TLMs) for six WRF-Solar physics packages that control the formation and dissipation of clouds and solar radiation, and we evaluate the validity of TLMs using a linearity test. The tangent linear sensitivity analysis is conducted under various scenarios based on satellite observations and model simulations to consider realistic input conditions. A simple method is used to quantify the impact of the uncertainty of input variables on the output variables from the TLMs. The results demonstrate that uncertainties in the output variables that are the focus of this study—including global horizontal irradiance, direct normal irradiance, cloud mixing ratio, cloud tendency, cloud fraction, and sensible and latent heat fluxes—are highly sensitive to uncertainties in 14 input variables. This study indicates that the tangent linear method can identify key variables of physics modules in WRF-Solar that can be stochastically perturbed to generate ensemble-based probabilistic forecasts.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)509-522
Number of pages14
JournalSolar Energy
Volume220
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 International Solar Energy Society

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-77227

Keywords

  • Ensemble prediction
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • Tangent linear
  • WRF-Solar

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