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Keywords:

  • pyranometer;
  • thermal dome effect;
  • irradiance

[1] A new method for improving the ground-based pyranometer measurements of solar irradiance has been employed during the East Asian Study of Tropospheric Aerosols and Impact on Regional Climate field experiment, Asian Monsoon Year in China in 2008. Depending on the temperature difference between its detector and domes, a pyranometer's thermal dome effect (TDE) can vary from a few W m−2 at night to over tens of W m−2 during daytime. Yet in traditional calibration procedures only a single calibration constant is determined, and consequently TDE is misrepresented. None of the methods that have been documented in the literature can capture TDE nonintrusively using the same instrument. For example, although adding a temperature sensor to the detector assembly is straightforward, attaching any sensor on a dome is intrusive and will affect its overall optical and physical properties. Furthermore, in response to the solar elevation and atmospheric variables, the dome temperature distribution is both dynamic and uneven, which makes it exceedingly difficult for locating a representative point on the dome for measuring TDE. However, the effective-dome-temperature is proportional to the pressure of the air trapped between the outer and the inner domes; therefore with a minor modification to a pyranometer, we can utilize the ideal gas law to gauge TDE without affecting the domes. Pyranometers can become climate-quality instruments once their TDE are nonintrusively determined.