Observations from the new Japanese geostationary satellite Himawari-8 permit quasi-real-time estimation of global shortwave radiation at an unprecedented temporal resolution. However, accurate comparisons with ground-truthing observations are essential to assess their uncertainty. In this study, we evaluated the Himawari-8 global radiation product AMATERASS using observations recorded at four SKYNET stations in Japan and, for certain analyses, from the surface network of the Japanese Meteorological Agency in 2016. We found that the spatiotemporal variability of the satellite estimates was smaller than that of the ground observations; variability decreased with increases in the time step and spatial domain. Cloud variability was the main source of uncertainty in the satellite radiation estimates, followed by direct effects caused by aerosols and bright albedo. Under all-sky conditions, good agreement was found between satellite and ground-based data, with a mean bias in the range of 20-30 W mg-2 (i.e., AMATERASS overestimated ground observations) and a root mean square error (RMSE) of approximately 70-80 W mg-2. However, results depended on the time step used in the validation exercise, on the spatial domain, and on the different climatological regions. In particular, the validation performed at 2.5 min showed largest deviations and RMSE values ranging from about 110 W mg-2 for the mainland to a maximum of 150 W mg-2 in the subtropical region. We also detected a limited overestimation in the number of clear-sky episodes, particularly at the pixel level. Overall, satellite-based estimates were higher under overcast conditions, whereas frequent episodes of cloud-induced enhanced surface radiation (i.e., measured radiation was greater than expected clear-sky radiation) tended to reduce this difference. Finally, the total mean bias was approximately 10-15 W mg-2 under clear-sky conditions, mainly because of overall instantaneous direct aerosol forcing efficiency in the range of 120-150 W mg-2 per unit of aerosol optical depth (AOD). A seasonal anticorrelation between AOD and global radiation differences was evident at all stations and was also observed within the diurnal cycle.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science