Improved turbidity estimation from local meteorological data for solar resourcing and forecasting applications

Shanlin Chen, Mengying Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This work presents a new method to estimate atmospheric turbidity with improved accuracy in estimating clear-sky irradiance. The turbidity is estimated by machine learning algorithms using commonly measured meteorological data including ambient air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and atmospheric pressure. The estimated turbidity is then served as the Linke Turbidity input to the Ineichen-Perez clear-sky model to estimate clear-sky global horizontal irradiance (GHI) and direct normal irradiance (DNI). When compared with the original Ineichen-Perez model which uses interpolated turbidity from the monthly climatological means, our turbidity estimation better captures its daily, seasonal, and annual variations. When using the improved turbidity estimation in the Ineichen-Perez model, the root mean square error (RMSE) of clear-sky GHI is reduced from 24.02 W m−2 to 9.94 W m−2. The RMSE of clear-sky DNI is deceased from 76.40 W m−2 to 29.96 W m−2. The presented method is also capable to estimate turbidity in partially cloudy days with improved accuracy, evidenced by that the corresponding estimated clear-sky irradiance has smaller deviation from measured irradiance in the cloudless time instants. In sum, the proposed method brings new insights about turbidity estimation in both clear and partially cloudy days, providing support to solar resourcing and forecasting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-272
Number of pages14
JournalRenewable Energy
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Clear-sky irradiance
  • Machine learning methods
  • Meteorological measurements
  • Turbidity estimation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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