Validation and improvement of satellite-derived surface solar radiation over the northwestern Pacific Ocean

Yoshimi Kawai, Hiroshi Kawamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study is to validate and improve satellite-derived downward surface shortwave radiation (DSSR) over the northwestern Pacific Ocean using abundant in situ data. The DSSR derivation model used here assumes that the reduction of solar radiation by clouds is proportional to the product of satellite-measured albedo and a cloud attenuation coefficient. DSSR is calculated from Geostationary Meteorological Satellite-5/Visible Infrared Spin-Scan Radiometer data in 0.05° × 0.05° grids. The authors first compare the satellite DSSR derived with a cloud attenuation coefficient table determined in past research with in situ values. Although the hourly satellite DSSR agrees well with land in situ values in Japan, it has a bias of +13∼+34 W/m2 over the ocean and the bias is especially large in the low latitudes. The authors then improve the coefficient table using the ocean in situ data. Usage of the new table successfully reduces the bias of the satellite DSSR over the ocean. The cloud attenuation coefficient for low-albedo cases over the ocean needs to be larger in the low latitudes than past research has indicated. Daily and hourly DSSR can be evaluated from the satellite data with RMS errors of 11-14% and 30-33%, respectively, over a wide region of the ocean by this model. It is also shown that the cloud attenuation coefficient over land needs to be smaller than over the ocean because the effect of the radiation reflected by the land surface cannot be ignored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-89
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Oceanography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Feb
Externally publishedYes


  • Cloud attenuation Coefficient
  • GMS
  • Satellite-derived solar radiation
  • The northwestern Pacific Ocean
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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