Surface Radiation from GOES: A Physical Approach; Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Models to compute Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI) and Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) have been in development over the last 3 decades. These models can be classified as empirical or physical, based on the approach. Empirical models relate ground based observations with satellite measurements and use these relations to compute surface radiation. Physical models consider the radiation receivedfrom the earth at the satellite and create retrievals to estimate surface radiation. While empirical methods have been traditionally used for computing surface radiation for the solar energy industry the advent of faster computing has made operational physical models viable. The Global Solar Insolation Project (GSIP) is an operational physical model from NOAA that computes GHI using the visibleand infrared channel measurements from the GOES satellites. GSIP uses a two-stage scheme that first retrieves cloud properties and uses those properties in a radiative transfer model to calculate surface radiation. NREL, University of Wisconsin and NOAA have recently collaborated to adapt GSIP to create a 4 km GHI and DNI product every 30 minutes. This paper presents an outline of themethodology and a comprehensive validation using high quality ground based solar data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Surface Radiation (SURFRAD) ( and Integrated Surface Insolation Study (ISIS), the Solar Radiation Research Laboratory (SRRL) at National Renewable EnergyLaboratory (NREL), and Sun Spot One (SS1) stations.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2012
Event27th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition - Frankfurt, Germany
Duration: 24 Sep 201228 Sep 2012


Conference27th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition
CityFrankfurt, Germany

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-56538


  • GHI
  • global horizontal irradiance
  • global solar insolation project
  • GSIP
  • uncertainty


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