The effect of screen level and upper air temperatures and atmospheric moisture on the downward atmospheric radiation in the South Australian region

  • A. H. MaghrabiEmail author
  • S. H. Aodahh
Original Paper


Determination of the long wave (LW) atmospheric radiation (λ = 4–100 μm) is of great importance for several applications. In this study, the effect of screen level and upper air temperatures and water vapour contents on the LW radiation for clear skies has been investigated using 4 years of measurements conducted in Adelaide (34.9° S;130.6° E), South Australia. A two-variable model, which depends on the screen level temperature and vapour pressure, has been developed to calculate the LW radiation. The model can predict the hourly measured data with a correlation coefficient of 0.88, giving mean bias error (MBE) of 0.21 W/m2, root mean square error (RMSE) of 17.3 W/m2, and a mean percentage error (MPE) of − 0.11% with respect to hourly observations. The performance of the multilinear model was tested against a 1-year independent data set. In this case, the MBE, RMSE, MPE, and correlation coefficient were 0.94 W/m2, − 2.2 W/m2, 18.1 W/m2, − 0.5%, and 0.85, respectively. Using radiosonde data, the total atmospheric water content has been calculated and its effect on the LW radiation has been investigated. A simple model that uses the screen level temperature and the precipitable water vapour (PWV) has been proposed. The correlation coefficient, MBE, and RMSE for this model were 0.93, 0.08 W/m2, and 12.12 W/m2, respectively; an MPE of 0.09% was reported by the model. The predictions of ten well-known clear sky models have been evaluated against the measured LW radiation data. These models were, then, adjusted and their performances have been assessed. The impact of the atmospheric mean weighted temperature on the LW radiation was studied. We have found that this temperature has less of an effect on the LW atmospheric radiation than screen level temperature. Finally, the clear sky model which uses the screen level parameters has been adjusted to account for the effect of clouds on the LW radiation. The model shows an acceptable predictability for the LW radiation under all sky conditions. The MBE, RMSE, MPE, and correlation coefficient for this model were 0.51 W/m2, 22.5 W/m2, 0.2% and 0.80, respectively.


Downward radiation Precipitable water vapour Weighted temperature Meteorology Screen level temperature 



We would like to thank King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) for supporting this work. We would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and recommendations.


  1. Arking A (1991) The radiative effects of clouds and their impact on climate. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 71(6):795–813CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berdahl P, Fromberg P (1982) The thermal radiance of clear skies. Sol Energy 29:299–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bevis M, Businger S, Herring TA, Rocken C, Anthes RA, Ware RH (1992) GPS meteorology, remote sensing of atmospheric water vapour using the global positioning system. J Geophys Res 97:15 784–15 801CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bilbao J, De Miguel AH (2007) Estimation of daylight downward longwave atmospheric irradiance under clear-sky and all-sky conditions. J Appl Meteorol Climatol 46:878–889CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brunt D (1932) Notes on radiation in the atmosphere. Q J R Meteorol Soc 58:309–420Google Scholar
  6. Brutsaert W (1975) On derivable formula for long-wave radiation from clear skies. Water Resour Res 11:742–744CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carmona F, Rivas R, Caselles V (2014) Estimation of daytime downward longwave radiation under clear and cloudy skies conditions over a sub-humid region. Theor Appl Climatol 115(1–2):281–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. CG1 (2000) CG1 Handbook. CG1 pyrgeometer. Instruction manual. Kipp & Zonen, DelftGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen T, Rossow WB, Zhang YC (2000) Radiative effects of cloud-type variations. J Clim 13:264–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chyleck P, Wong JGD (1998) Cloud radiative forcing ratio – an analytical model. Tellus A 50:259–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Clark G, Allen CP (1978) The estimation of atmospheric radiation for clear and cloudy skies. In: Proc 2nd Nat Passive Solar Conf 2:676–682Google Scholar
  12. Corti T, Peter T (2009) A simple model for cloud radiative forcing. Atmos Chem Phys 9:5751–5758CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Davis JL, Herring TA, Shapiro II, Rogers AEE, Elgered aG (1985) Geodesy by radio interferometry: effects of atmospheric modeling errors on estimates of baseline length. Radio Sci 20(6):1593–1607CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dilley AC, O’Brien DM (1998) Estimating downward clear sky long-wave irradiance at the surface from screen temperature and precipitable water. Q J R Meteorol Soc 124:1391–1401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Duarte HF, Dias NL, Maggiotto SR (2006) Assessing daytime downward longwave radiation estimates for clear and cloudy skies in southern Brazil. Agric For Meteorol 139:171–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dupont JC, Haeffelin M, Drobinski P, Besnard T (2008) Parametric model to estimate clear-sky longwave irradiance at the surface on the basis of vertical distribution of humidity and temperature. J Geophys Res 113:D07203. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Efimova NA (1961) On methods of calculating monthly values of net longwave radiation. Meteorol Gidrol 10:28–33Google Scholar
  18. Elsasser WM (1942) Heat transfer by infrared radiation in the atmosphere, 6, Harvard Meteorological Studies. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  19. Garcıa MP (2004) Simplified modelling of the nocturnal clear sky atmospheric radiation for environmental applications. Ecol Model 180:395–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gröbner J, Wacker S, Vuilleumier L, Kämpfer N (2009) Effective atmospheric boundary layer temperature from longwave radiation measurements. J Geophys Res 114.
  21. Hagemann S, Bengtsson L, Gendt G (2003) On the determination of atmospheric water vapor from GPS measurements. J Geophys Res 108:4678. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Herrero J, Polo M (2012) Parameterization of atmospheric longwave emissivity in a mountainous site for all sky conditions. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 16:3139–3147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Idso SB, Jackson RD (1969) Thermal radiation from the atmosphere. J Geophys Res 74:5397–5403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Iziomon MG, Mayer H, Matzarakis A (2003) Downward atmospheric irradiance under clear and cloudy skies: measurement and parameterization. J Atmos Sol Terr Phys 65:1107–1116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kruk S, Vendrame F, Rocha R, Chou C, Cabral O (2010) Downward longwave radiation estimates for clear and all-sky conditions in the Sertãozinho region of São Paulo, Brazil. Theor Appl Climatol 99:115–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lhomme JP, Vacher JJ, Rocheteau A (2007) Estimating downward long-wave radiation on the Andean Altiplano. Agric For Meteorol 145:139–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Maghrabi AH (2012) Modification of the IR sky temperature under different atmospheric conditions in an arid region in Central Saudi Arabia: experimental and theoretical justification. J Geophys Res 117:D19207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Maghrabi AH, Alotaib RN (2017) Long-term variations of AOD from an AERONET station in the central Arabian Peninsula. Theor Appl Climatol.
  29. Maghrabi AH, Clay RW (2011) Nocturnal infrared clear sky temperatures correlated with screen temperatures and GPS-derived PWV in southern Australia. Energy Conserv Manag 52:2925–2936CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Maghrabi AH, Clay RW, Dawson B, Wild N (2009) Design and development of a simple infrared monitor for cloud detection. Energy Conserv Manag 50:2732–2737CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Maghrabi AH, Aldosari AF, Almutairi MM, Altilasi MI, Aldakhil AA, Allehyani BI, Aljarbar GA (2018) Variations and modeling of the atmospheric weighted mean temperature for ground-based GNNS applications: central Arabian Peninsula; accepted for publications. Adv Space Res.
  32. Miskolczi F (1994) Modeling of downward surface longwave flux density for global change applications and comparison with pyrgeometer measurements. J Atmos Ocean Technol 11:608–612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Poore KD, Wang J, Rossow WB (1995) Cloud layer thicknesses from a combination of surface and upper-air observations. J Clim 8:550–568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Prata AJ (1996) A new long-wave formula for estimating downward clear-sky radiation at the surface. Q J R Meteorol Soc 122:1127–1151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Riodran D, Clay R, Maghrabi AH, Dawson B, Wild N (2006) Cloud base temperature measurements using a simple longwave infrared cloud detection system. J Geophys Res 110:D03207. Google Scholar
  36. Ruckstuhl C, Philipona R, Morland J, Ohmura A (2007) Observed relationship between surface specific humidity, integrated water vapor, and longwave downward radiation at different altitudes. J Geophys Res 112:D03302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Singh D, Ghosh JK, Kashyap D (2013) Weighted mean temperature model for extra tropical region of India. J Atmos Sol Terr Phys 107:48–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Stone RJ (1993) Improved statistical procedure for the evaluation of solar radiation estimation models. Sol Energy 514:288–291Google Scholar
  39. Sugita M, Brutsaert W (1993) Cloud effect in the estimation of instantaneous downward longwave radiation. Water Resour Res 29:599–605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Svendsen H, Jensen HE, Jensen SE, Mogensen VO (1990) The effect of clear sky radiation on crop surface temperature determined by thermal thermometry. Agric For Meteorol 50:239–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Swinbank WC (1963) Long-wave radiation from clear skies. Q J R Meteorol Soc 89:339–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Viudez-Mora A, Call J, Gonzalez JA, Jimenez MA (2009) Modeling atmospheric longwave radiation at the surface under cloudless skies. J Geophys Res 114:D18107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wacker S, Gröbner J, Vuilleumier L (2014) A method to calculate cloud-free long-wave irradiance at the surface based on radiative transfer modeling and temperature lapse rate estimates. Theor Appl Climatol 115:551–561CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wang J, Zhang L, Dai A (2005) Global estimates of water vapour weighted mean temperature of the atmosphere for GPS applications. J Geophys Res 110(D21):D21101. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wild M, Ohmura A, Gilgen H, Morcrette J-J, Slingo A (2001) Evaluation of downward radiation in general circulation models. J Clim 14:3227–3229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Zhu M, Yao T, Yang W, Xu B, Wang X (2017) Evaluation of parameterizations of incoming longwave radiation in the high-mountain region of the Tibetan Plateau. J Appl Meteorol Clim 56(4):833–848CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Center for Applied PhysicsKing Abdulaziz City for Science and TechnologyRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Physics and Astronomy DepartmentKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

Personalised recommendations