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1990–2016 surface solar radiation variability and trend over the Piedmont region (northwest Italy)

Abstract

A new surface solar radiation database of 74 daily series is set up for the Piedmont region (northwest Italy) for the 1990–2016 period. All the series are subjected to a detailed quality control, homogenization and gap-filling procedure and are transformed into relative annual/seasonal anomaly series. Finally, a gridded version (0.5°×0.5°) of the database is generated. The resulting series show an increasing tendency of about + 2.5% per decade at annual scale, with strongest trend in autumn (+ 4% per decade). The only exception is winter, showing a negative but not significant trend. Considering the plain and mountain mean series, the trends are more intense for low than for high elevations with a negative vertical gradient of about − 0.03% per decade per 100 m at annual scale and values up to − 0.07% per decade per 100 m in spring. Focusing on clear days only (selected by CM SAF ClOud fractional cover dataset from METeosat first and second generation—Edition 1 satellite data over the 1991–2015 period), trend significance strongly increases and both low and high elevation records exhibit a positive trend in all seasons. However, the trends result slightly lower than for all-sky days (with the only exception of winter). The differences observed under clear-sky conditions between low and high elevations are more pronounced in winter, where the trend shows a negative vertical gradient of about − 0.1% per decade every 100 m. Overall, this paper shows how a high station density allows performing a more detailed quality control thanks to the higher performances in detecting the inhomogeneities with higher data availability and capturing regional peculiarities otherwise impossible to observe.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Special Project HR-CIMA within the frame of the Project of National Interest NextData.

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Correspondence to Veronica Manara.

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Manara, V., Bassi, M., Brunetti, M. et al. 1990–2016 surface solar radiation variability and trend over the Piedmont region (northwest Italy). Theor Appl Climatol 136, 849–862 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-018-2521-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-018-2521-6