Validation of an hourly resolved global aerosol model in answer to solar electricity generation information needs
Solar energy applications need global aerosol optical depth (AOD) information to derive historic surface solar irradiance databases from geostationary meteorological satellites reaching back to the 1980's. This paper validates the MATCH/DLR model originating in the climate community against AERONET ground measurements. Hourly or daily mean AOD model output is evaluated individually for all stations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East – an area highly interesting for solar energy applications being partly dominated by high aerosol loads. Overall, a bias of 0.02 and a root-mean-square error (RMSE) of 0.23 are found for daily mean AOD values, while the RMSE increases to 0.28 for hourly mean AOD values. Large differences between various regions and stations are found providing a feedback loop for the aerosol modelling community. The difference in using daily means versus hourly resolved modelling with respect to hourly resolved observations is evaluated. Nowadays state-of-the-art in solar resource assessment relies on monthly turbidity or AOD climatologies while at least hourly resolved irradiance time series are needed by the solar sector. Therefore, the contribution of higher temporally modelled AOD is evaluated.