An Iberian climatology of solar radiation obtained from WRF regional climate simulations for 1950-2010 period

Perdigão J, Salgado R, Magarreiro C, Soares PMM, Costa MJ, Dasari HP
Atmospheric Research, 198:151-162,

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The mesoscale Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model is used over the Iberian Peninsula to generate 60 years (1950–2010) of climate data, at 5 km resolution, in order to evaluate and characterize the incident shortwave downward radiation at the surface (SW ↓), in present climate. The simulated values of SW ↓ in the period 2000–2009 were compared with data measured in Spanish and Portuguese meteorological stations before and a statistical BIAS correction was applied using data from Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES), on board four different satellites. The spatial and temporal comparison between WRF results and observations show a good agreement for the analyzed period, although the model overestimates observations. This overestimation has a mean normalized bias of about 7% after BIAS correction (or 17% for original WRF output). Additionally, the present simulation was confronted against another previously validated WRF simulation performed with different resolution and set of parametrizations, showing comparable results. WRF adequately reproduces the observational features of SW ↓ with correlation coefficients above 0.8 in annual and seasonal basis. 60 years of simulated SW ↓ over the Iberian Peninsula were produced, which showed annual mean values that range from 130 W/m ² , in the northern regions, to a maximum of around 230 W/m ² in the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula (IP). SW ↓ over IP shows a positive gradient from north to south and from west to east, with local effects influenced by topography and distance to the coast. The analysis of the simulated cloud fraction indicates that clear sky days are found in > 30% of the period at the southern area of IP, particularly in the Algarve (Portugal) and Andalusia (Spain), and this value increases significantly in the summer season for values above 80%.