Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 138, Issue 1–2, pp 249–261 | Cite as

Analysis of the diurnal to seasonal variability of solar radiation in Douala, Cameroon

  • D. NdarweEmail author
  • D. Bongue
  • D. Monkam
  • P. Moudi
  • N. Philippon
  • C. A. KenfacK
Original Paper


One of the solutions for resolving the problem of energy production deficit in Central Africa is to promote renewable energy sources. The knowledge of the solar variability represents a determining factor for design, dimensioning, performance assessment, and energetic management of renewable energy conversion systems. In this work, we analyze the behaviour of solar radiation from diurnal to seasonal time scales for the region of Douala, the largest industrial city of Cameroon. Observed data of temperature, sunshine duration and precipitation, and satellite estimates of solar radiation (from Soda Solar Project) and cloudiness (acquired from Meteosat Second Generation) were used. The results show that the solar radiation annual cycle at Douala can be decomposed into four seasons: the main dry season in December–January–February (DJF) which corresponds to the most illuminated season, the main rainy season in June–July–August–September (JJAS) which is the least illuminated, and two intermediate periods, March–April–May (MAM) and October–November (ON) which correspond to semi-illuminated periods. Using a hierarchical clustering analysis (HCA), we found that Douala usually experiences five main types of solar radiation diurnal cycles depicting very bright to obscure days. A characterization of sky conditions during these five diurnal cycles shows a predominance of low and high opaque clouds during obscure days.



Daily diffuse solar radiation (Wh/m2/day)


Daily direct solar radiation (Wh/m2/day)




Horizontal global solar radiation (Wh/m2/day)








Cloudiness (Octas)



The authors are grateful to the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) for its support through the OEA-AC-71 project at the Centre for Atomic Molecular Physics and Quantum Optics (CEPAMOQ) of the University of Douala (Cameroon). They acknowledge also ICARE Data and Service Center (Lille, France) for giving access to the 2008–2015 MSG Cloud Analysis product archives. They are thankful to Claire Thomas, TRANSVALOR, for her support with regard to the HelioClim3-v5 data extraction over our study region and its characterization.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CEPAMOQ, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of DoualaDoualaCameroon
  2. 2.Department of Physics, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of DoualaDoualaCameroon
  3. 3.Faculty of ScienceUniversity of Yaounde IYaoundeCameroon
  4. 4.ASECNA, Douala meteorological officeDoualaCameroon
  5. 5.IGE, UGA-CNRS-IRD-INPGrenobleFrance

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