Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/acp-2017-88
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
27 Feb 2017
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Impact of aerosols and clouds on decadal trends in all-sky solar radiation over the Netherlands (1966–2015)
Reinout Boers, Theo Brandsma, and A. Pier Siebesma KNMI, De Bilt, P.O. Box 201, Netherlands
Abstract. A 50-year hourly dataset of global shortwave radiation, cloudiness and visibility over the Netherlands was used to quantify the contribution of aerosols and clouds to trends in all-sky radiation. The trend in all-sky radiation was expressed as a linear combination of trends in fractional cloudiness, clear-sky radiation and cloud-base radiation (radiation emanating from the bottom of clouds). All three trends were derived from the data records. The results indicate that trends in all three components contribute significantly to the observed trend in all-sky radiation. Trends (per decade) in fractional cloudiness, all-sky, clear-sky and cloud-base radiation were respectively 0.0097 ± 0.0062, 1.81 ± 1.07 W m−2, 2.78 ± 0.50 W m−2, and 3.43 ± 1.17 W m−2. Radiative transfer calculations using the aerosol optical thickness derived from visibility observations indicate that Aerosol Radiation Interaction (ARI) is a strong candidate to explain the upward trend in the clear-sky radiation. Aerosol Cloud Interaction (ACI) may have some impact on cloud-base radiation, but it is suggested that decadal changes in cloud thickness and synoptic scale changes in cloud amount also play an important role.

Citation: Boers, R., Brandsma, T., and Siebesma, A. P.: Impact of aerosols and clouds on decadal trends in all-sky solar radiation over the Netherlands (1966–2015), Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., doi:10.5194/acp-2017-88, in review, 2017.
Reinout Boers et al.
Reinout Boers et al.

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Short summary
In the Netherlands 9 W m−2 more solar radiation falls on the surface today than 50 year ago. Often this increase which has also been detected in surrounding western Europe has been attributed to decreasing air pollution due to improved regulatory practices. However, over the Netherlands clouds play an important but ambiguous role. Cloud cover has increased but have become optically thinner as well. Here, the impact of clouds on radiation is in fact more important than that of air pollution.
In the Netherlands 9 W m−2 more solar radiation falls on the surface today than 50 year ago....
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