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Evaluation and estimation of daily global solar radiation from the estimated direct and diffuse solar radiation

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There are various empirical models used in the estimation of global solar radiation; however, knowledge of direct and diffuse solar radiation is insufficient. Global solar radiation is the sum of direct and diffuse solar radiation, and a method that calculates global solar radiation from the estimated direct and diffuse solar radiation was further proposed in this study. The observed daily solar radiation and meteorological data from 97 stations during 1993–2016 were used for the analysis, and the results indicated that the concave-shaped relationship with relative sunshine duration was more obvious for direct solar radiation than for global solar radiation, while an inverted u-shaped relationship was found for diffuse solar radiation. Generally, the performances of empirical models in estimating direct and diffuse solar radiation were worse than the estimation of global solar radiation. However, because the bias of estimated direct and diffuse solar radiation was partially offset, the results in this study indicated that global solar radiation can be better calculated from the estimated direct and diffuse solar radiation when compared with the best performed empirical model, especially in data-scarce regions. The results of this study will aid in better estimations and understanding of the variations in global solar radiation, as well as direct and diffuse solar radiation.

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We cordially thank the editor, Prof. Dr. Hartmut Graßl, and an anonymous reviewer for their professional comments and constructive suggestions, which are greatly helpful for further improvement in the quality of this manuscript.


This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 51909057); National Key R&D Program of China (grant numbers 2016YFC0402706 and 2016YFC0402710); and the Belt and Road Special Foundation of the State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering (grant number 2018490711).

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Correspondence to Mingzhong Xiao.

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Xiao, M., Yu, Z. & Cui, Y. Evaluation and estimation of daily global solar radiation from the estimated direct and diffuse solar radiation. Theor Appl Climatol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-020-03140-4

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  • Global solar radiation
  • Direct solar radiation
  • Diffuse solar radiation
  • Sunshine duration