The Diffuse Fraction of Global Solar Irradianceat a Tropical Location

Research paper by M. G. Iziomon, T. O. Aro

Indexed on: 01 Nov '98Published on: 01 Nov '98Published in: Theoretical and Applied Climatology


The annual and monthly mean diurnal variations of the diffuse fraction of global solar irradiance arriving on the ground at a tropical station in Sub-Sahel Africa is here been reported. The monthly mean hourly values of the diffuse fraction (Kd) for such clear-sky months as February, March and November at this location, which approach a minimum at about local noon, are observed to lie generally below 0.50 during the period from 11:00 to 15:00 hrs (LST). Consequently, solar concentrators utilising parabolic mirrors are expected to have high performance during these months in this region. Like the mainly-cloudy and wet months (June to August) in which monthly mean hourly values of Kd higher than 0.62 have been recorded, the corresponding diffuse fraction for dust-haze months (mostly December and January) with high turbidity coefficients were generally above 0.50. Monthly mean hourly values of Kd for less cloudy months (April, May, September and October) ranged between 0.48 and 0.77 during the period from 11:00 to 15:00 hrs (LST). The effects of atmospheric dust-haze, clouds and albedo on the monthly mean diurnal variation of the diffuse fraction has been discussed. Also reported are the characteristic values of Kd for sets of months with relatively similar atmospheric and sky conditions at this location. The annual variations of the monthly mean daily values of Kd which exhibit strong seasonal dependence showed a peak in August for both years. Except for the months of February and March, the monthly mean daily totals of Kd exhibited similar annual marches during both years. The major discrepancy in the values of the monthly mean daily totals of Kd in both years were recorded in the months of February, November and December, with the corresponding Kd values for these months in both years agreeing only to within 32.9% in February, 15.4% in November and 16.2% in December. Apart from the aforementioned months, the corresponding monthly mean daily totals of Kd for the remaining nine months in both years agreed mostly to within less than 8.4%. The least monthly mean daily ratios of Kd were obtained in the relatively clear month of November for both years being 0.43 in 1993 and 0.49 in 1994. On an annual average, the diffuse component was found to constitute 59.6% of the global solar irradiance arriving on the ground at this region in 1993 and 60.9% in 1994. The results been reported here have been compared with a few others emanating from other tropical stations.