Evaluation of models for predicting insolation on slopes within the Colorado alpine tundra

S. A. Isard

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20 Scopus citations


This empirical study evaluates insolation predictions for the Colorado tundra from models based upon isotropic and anisotropic distribution approximations for diffuse sky and reflected solar radiation. The data set of hourly insolation values was obtained from 40 locations on an alpine ridge by simultaneous measurement of direct beam irradiance and total insolation to the horizontal ridge crest and two nearby sloping surfaces. Six models are used to predict insolation, two based on the isotropic distribution of diffuse solar radiation and four on anisotropic diffuse distribution fields. Three models (one isotropic and two anisotropic) employ measurements of normal direct beam irradiance while the other 3 models incorporate the correlation between the "clearness index" and the ratio of diffuse sky to total insolation. The precision of insolation estimates from models using the correlation method is only slightly less than from other models. Accounting for the increase of diffuse radiation in the circumsolar sky improves insolation predictions. However, inclusion of additional regions of diffuse radiation anisotropy decreases model accuracy. Errors of insolation estimates for the alpine tundra from all models vary in a systematic manner as a function of relative azimuth and ground slope angles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-564
Number of pages6
JournalSolar Energy
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Materials Science


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