Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 7, 499-535, 2007
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Simulation of solar radiation during a total solar eclipse: a challenge for radiative transfer
C. Emde and B. Mayer
Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Wessling, Germany

Abstract. A solar eclipse is a rare but spectacular natural phenomenon and furthermore it is a challenge for radiative transfer modeling. Whereas a simple one-dimensional radiative transfer model with reduced solar irradiance at the top of the atmosphere can be used to calculate the brightness during partial eclipses a much more sophisticated model is required to calculate the brightness (i.e. the diffuse radiation) during the total eclipse. The reason is that radiation reaching a detector in the shadow gets there exclusively by horizontal (three-dimensional) transport of photons in a spherical shell atmosphere. In this study the first accurate simulations are presented examplified by the solar eclipse at 29 March 2006. Using a backward Monte Carlo model we calculated the diffuse radiation in the umbra and simulated the changing colors of the sky. Radiance and irradiance are decreased by 3 to 4 orders of magnitude, depending on wavelength. We found that aerosol has a comparatively small impact on the radiation in the umbra. We also estimated the contribution of the solar corona to the radiation under the umbra and found that it is negligible compared to the diffuse solar radiation in most parts of the spectrum. Spectrally resolved measurements in the umbra are not yet available. They are challenging due to the low intensity and therefore need careful planning. The new model may be used to support measurements during future solar eclipses.

Citation: Emde, C. and Mayer, B.: Simulation of solar radiation during a total solar eclipse: a challenge for radiative transfer, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 7, 499-535, doi:10.5194/acpd-7-499-2007, 2007.
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