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Solar Energy Vol. 48, No. 3, pp. 157-167.

Printed in the U.S.A.

0038-092X/92 $5.00 + .00 Copyright 1992 Pergamon Press Ltd.


R. AGUIARand M. COLLARES-PEREIRA LNETI, Departamento de Energias Renovfiveis,Estrada do Pago do Lumiar, 1699 Lisboa Codex, Portugal Abstract--The statistics of hourly global radiation are analysed for various climates and locations, at time scales rangingfrom one month to one hour. The probabilisticand sequentialproperties of the hourly clearness index kt are related with a variety of parameters, including the daily clearnessindex Kt and the solar altitude angle h, thereby displayingthe nonstationaryand time-inhomogeneousnature of hourly radiation. Analytical expressions for the probability distribution of k t a r e proposed (truncated Gaussian functions depending on Kt and h). The results reported in this paper provide a deeper understanding of hourly solar radiation statistics, and explain some of the features displayed by radiation data at longer time scales. From the practical point of view they have implications, for example, for the construction of models for generating synthetic radiation data, an important and often indispensabletool for designingand simulatingsolar systems. 1. INTRODUCFION Knowledge about hourly global solar radiation incident on the horizontal plane ( hourly radiation for short) is essential for the design of many solar energy systems[ I ]. And, in any case, using hourly radiation values leads to better designs and predictions of the behaviour of solar systems. As a typical example, values of the utilisability function a major tool for the sizing ofsolar systems[2] computed with hourly data, are always found greater than those computed with just daily radiation. From another point of view, a good understanding of the behaviour of radiation at time scales less than a day is also essential to increase the ability to extract information from the limited databases of observed radiation values. In fact, nearly all solar systems, active or passive, work on tilted planes, but nearly all databases consist simply of horizontal, not tilted, radiation. However, working with hourly data, it is possible and relatively straightforward to predict radiation on tilted planes from data on the horizontal[3]. Within the same line of reasoning, if a good understanding of how daily and hourly radiation are related is achieved, it may be possible to obtain not only tilted hourly radiation data, but also statistically sound daily tilted radiation data from the daily databases[4] that are far larger than hourly databases. Even when the sole information available is the monthly-average daily radiation or number of sunshine hours, as is often the ease, it may be possible to obtain daily[5], and then, hourly[6], radiation sequences. This would greatly benefit an enormous number of solar energy system designers around the world, giving them much needed, relevant input information (i.e., of their own radiation climate) for their models. Data on a minute time scale, which may prove to be very useful in the future, has only recently been measured and analysed throughout the world [ 6 ]. But for hourly radiation, enough observations have already become available to allow for studies with reasonable statistical significance. With few exceptions, these studies have been performed in much the same way as daily radiation studies: the characteristics of the weather are considered stationary for a period of about one month[8], and this is the time length for which probabilistic and sequential properties are computed. This type of analysis produced some very valuable and useful results for daily radiation [8-15 ] and for relating hourly to daily radiation[9,16-19]. However, the idea that in some cases more detailed analyses are needed, recently has become consistent. For instance[4], for the clearer months significant errors (as high as 10% ) can be found, when methods based on the results of the global analyses are applied to solar energy problems dealing with high solar fractions or with passive systems. The preceding information is the background that prompted the present work. Instead of "mixing" days and hours with different characteristics, sequences of hourly radiation values will be separated according to daily Kt and, for example, air mass. In Section 2 a brief review of classical results for mixed analysis of daily and hourly radiation is given. In Section 3, unmixed statistics will be computed for hourly radiation data binned with respect to Kt and solar altitude thus revealing its nonstationary, inhomogeneous nature, in Section 4 analytical expressions for the hourly kt probability distribution and for its mean and variance are proposed for latter practical applications. Finally, in Section 5, the main conclusions and implications of this work are presented. The usual notation for solar radiation variables is used throughout the text, and can be found at the end. An overbar denotes monthly averages. 2. REVIEW OF RESULTS FOR MIXED ANALYSIS OF RADIATION

2. ! General statistical properties

When analysing radiation data, the annual and diurnal trends of the radiation at the top of the atmosphere are removed first. In general, this is done by 157


R. AGUIARand M. COLLARES-PEREIRA for it. One way to solve this problem is the choice of a scaling procedure. Namely, a similarity hypothesis can be stated, saying that the scaled distributions P(kt; l(t, h)/fq(h) for hourly radiation are all similar to each other and, as explained below, they are also similar to the scaled distribution P(Kt;/ft) //(,, for daily radiation. This last property is very convenient because it enables the use of the databases of daily radiation to obtain statistics for hourly radiation. The computation of the scaling factors is simplified by another link between daily and hourly radiation, reported by Collares-Pereira and Rabl [ 16 ], that relates J~t(h) and Kt by means of a cosine-type function. The similarity hypothesis is based first of all on the works of Liu and Jordan[8] in the early 60's. They remarked that hourly utilisability curves, obtained from P(kt;/(t, h), were nearly identical for the first three pairs of hours symmetric about solar noon (09001600), when plotted versus the adimensional thresholds I/f. They also looked very similar to daily utilisability curves plotted versus H/I~. These findings were later corroborated by other authors[ i 5 ], for beam radiation and other (earlier and later) hours of the day, although the similarities found in these cases are not as good as for the first case of global radiation for the central hours of the day. 3. UNMIXED ANALYSISOF IIOURLY RADIATION The results reviewed above are relative to monthly time intervals. But, as explained in the Introduction, for certain problems in solar energy engineering, the results described above may not be enough; other, more detailed types of analyses, are needed. The objective of this section is to make an unmixed analysis, separating hourly data by K, and solar altitude (and irrespective t o / ( , ) . This provides the autocorrelation of daily sequences and the probability distributions P(kt; K,, h ) - - t w o types of statistics that are especially important for the construction of models for daily sequences of hourly radiation, and also for discussing the behaviour of passive systems and systems with very high solar fractions.

using as the main variable the clearness index, i.e., the ratio of the radiation measured at the Earth's surface to the (extraterrestrial) radiation present at the top of the atmosphere. Other types of variables, such as those obtained by subtracting a t r e n d l c o m p u t e d from moving averages, or from the sum of the first harmonics in a Fourier Analysis of data--are too dependent on location [ 5,13 ]. Next, the database is divided in periods short enough so that it can be assumed that the same general weather characteristics for that period exist: one month has proven to be an adequate choice [ 8,11 ]. Only then are the probability distribution, its central moments, and the sequential properties (autocorrelation) of the time series computed. Two important results have emerged from the type of analysis described above: I. The shape of the probability distribution is strongly related with the average value of the clearness index; other factors, like season and latitude, are of much lesser importance [ 8, I 1,12,18 ]. 2. Only the one-day lag autocorrelation 4h is significant, i.e., the clearness index value for a certain day (or hour) is influenced only by the clearness index for the previous day (or hour ) [ 5,6,9,10, i 9,21 ]. These findings have lead to extensive work with daily data, aimed at deriving analytical expressions for the P(Kt,/~,) distribution, independent of location and time of year[l 1,12,14,15]; and at constructing Markovian (autoregressive) solar radiation models capable of generating synthetic /(I sequences with the same statistical characteristics of the observed ones [ 5,9, ! 0,13,20,23 ]. The P(Kt,/(t) distribution can be used for analytical design procedures [ 24,25 ], while the synthetic data can be used for more detailed numerical applications (simulation and design ) [ 26,27 ]. The same type of efforts were also performed for hourly radiation [ 6,12,18,19,21,22,27 ]. However, the situation in this case is complicated by the existence ofdaily trends. In fact, there is an explicit relationship of the horizontal global radiation (and the clearness index) with the solar altitude h, which obviously changes during the day and from day to day. 2.2 The links between daily and hourly radiation Since the hourly distribution P(kt; Kt, h) changes its shape with the solar altitude angle[8,17] (and also because its derivation requires great amounts of hourly data), it is difficult to obtain analytical formulations

3.1 Data
The data used for the computations are summarised in Table 1. Except for Maputo, it is part of an hourly database assembled for the Project EUFRAT [28], an EEC funded project aimed at producing an atlas of

Table 1. Summary of the database characteristics Location Maputo Athens Lisbon Madrid Oviedo Trappes Country Mozambique Greece Portugal Spain Spain France Years with data 1965-1970 196 I- 1982 1975-1977 1978, 1981- 1984 1981- 1984 1974-1981 Linke turbidity 2.00t 5.88 3.72 2.16

Latitude 2600'S 3758'N 3843'N 4027'N

43 21' N

Annual average/~t 0.59 0.51 0.57 0.53 0.44 0.41



* Estimated.

Properties of hourly global radiation utilisability and cumulative frequency curves for Europe. Maputo data were measured by the Portuguese National Weather Service and described elsewhere [ 5 ]. The data were filtered, rejecting all recorded values greater than a maximum possible value predicted with an appropriated clear-sky model. 3.2 Probabilistic characteristics In Fig. 1 the distributions P(Kt;/t) and P(kt; Kt) are illustrated for an example case. The data are from Lisbon; both functions share the same average, 0.66. Representing the probability density, instead of just the accumulated probability, emphasises the differences: ( 1 ) the maximum value for kt is superior to the one for Kt; (2) the Kt distribution is more peaked; and ( 3 ) the tail to the left of the peak is thicker and longer for k~. Apart from these differences, the general dependence of the distributions' shape in respect to the average value can be considered to be the same for daily and hourly data; the behaviour of the first four central moments with the average Kt is more clearly shown in Fig. 2, for the distributions computed at Athens with the unmixed approach, P(kt; gt). Also, the computations show that this distribution seems to have the same properties of independence from season and latitude as those of their mixed counterparts (see Fig. 3 for an example of the latitude dependence analysis). The distribution P(k,; At) just discussed will be called overall, while the distributions P(kt; Kt, h) to be computed for each solar altitude angle will be called elementary. An angle is chosen for the variable indicating the sun's position because, for the unmixed approach, days with a wide variety of daylengths are binned together and therefore the solar hour would not be an appropriate parameter. The characteristics under investigation can be considered symmetrical with respect to solar noon, except when microclimatic effects, such as morning fogs, may exist. Applying the unmixed analysis shows distinct results for ranges of Kt below and above about 0.45. Typ-


ical results are displayed in Fig. 4 (in this case, data for Athens) for 0.25 < Kt < 0.30 and 0.60 < K, < 0.65. The data for the lower range show that elementary distributions are essentially the same for all solar altitude angle values, except for small lags on their location on the /<I axis. The data for the higher range show the same for the smaller air masses (central hours of the day). This behaviour, namely the independence of P(kt; Kt, h) with h, could be expected since there is little variation of the air mass. In the first case, because low Kt values occur mainly in winter when the solar altitude is always quite low, in the latter case, because the solar altitude changes slowly for hours around noon. In contrast, for the higher Kt range and the earlier and later hours of the day, the distributions are clearly different: in particular, the average decreases and the variance increases markedly for lower solar altitude angles. To state it more precisely, hourly radiation does not possess stationarity and time-homogeneity properties. Still, a scaling procedure just as the one used for the similarity hypothesis discussed in Section 2.2 could yield a weak form of stationarity: the distributions P(kt; Kt, h)//q(h) might be taken as the same, simplifying their parametrisation. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as can be seen in Fig. 4. This seems to mean that the similarity hypothesis can only be valid for mixed weather conditions, which can produce more stable statistics. The shape of the total k, distribution can now be interpreted as a process of superposition of the elementary k, distributions. For daily Kt values lower than about 0.45 the shapes and modal values of the elementary distributions are found to be almost the same, and the superposition results in a final shape very similar to the ones for each hour. Also, the strong peak observed in P(kt; Kt) for Kt > 0.45 must result from the superposition of the elementary distributions for the central hours of the day; in this case the P(kt; Kt; h) distributions have almost the same average, peak position, and variance. The tail of the total distribution (Fig. 1) will correspond to the superposition of elementary distributions with quite different peak positions and variances. 3.3 Sequential characteristics The computation of autocorrelation at lag i, ~i (or of the corresponding partial autocorrelation rii) is difficult in the case of hourly radiation because of the short length of the daily sequences---i.e., an average of 12 hourly values. Some authors[19,22] compute autocorrelation simply by concatenating several days of data. This produces unreasonably high estimates ofi (0.6--0.9), stemming from the existence of a systematic daily trend[16] in the data. Not only the cosine-type behaviour of the data adds an extra correlation, but also connecting the last/q values of one day with the first ones of the next day is also a source of spurious autocorrelation effects, since on average such values will be smaller than the average kt for those two days. In this work, a different procedure is used. The data


a_ OA

i -....A^


0.4 0.6 0.8 Clearness Index


Fig. I. Comparison of the probability distributions ofkt and Kt for a same average value. In this and following figures, the values of the probability functions are computed for 40 intervals in the range 0-1; the points obtained are connected by lines for convenience of visualisation.



. . . . . . . . .

Standard deviation




0.6: ...............................................................


m m







0:4 ' 0 : 6 '




Kt Kurtosis


................................... I I .........................................................................................................


4 2


m ........................

I i i i


' 0:2'


0:6 ' 0:8

' 0:2 ' 0:4


0:8 '

is binned according to daily Kt values; and the estimate of Cj (or r~) taken for the midst of each Kt bin is the average of the ~'s (or r~'s) computed for each of the daily sequences found in that K, range. In practice, and as a consequence of the short length of the sequences, only first- and second-order total or partial autocorrelation values can be calculated meaningfully. The significance of these estimates must be evaluated with the RMS error, since large-lag theoretical resuits[29] do not apply for these cases. The results of computations show (Fig. 5) a strong first-order autocorrelation and essentially zero secondorder partial autocorrelations for all ranges of K,. As Graham et al. found for Canadian data [6], the h values exhibit a dependence on the daily clearness index. This is an interesting fact if one recalls that no such dependence seems to exist at the daily time scale (between 4h and/(t). In [6] a correlation is proposed that also constitutes a fair enough fit of the present results.

However, it is evident from the preceding Section 3.2 that the daily k, sequences are not stationary, since the probability distributions of kt for each hour are different. Therefore, the autocorrelation computed as indicated before must be distorted; and the assumption of [ 6 ] that the autocorrelation of k, sequences is the same as that of/<, - / q sequences seems doubtful. The true autocorrelation must be computed from stationary sequences[29], but this implies the computation of the statistical properties of some stationarized radiation variable, and not of/<,. This is not within the scope of the present work, and is done instead in a companion paper[30]. 4. MODELLINC ELEME~rrAnY k, m s ~ m t r n o s s

Fig. 2. Evolution of the four central moments of the unmixed kt distribution with the daily clearness index, Kt.

4.1 Detailed analysis of P(Iq; Kt; h)

Finding appropriate analytical expressions for the P(/~; Kt; h) distribution and for its central moments

Properties of hourly global radiation


0.15 0.1

.25 < Kt<.30


.40< Kt<.45


0.05 001() 0.2





00!0 '~' 012 0.4 016 " ~ 01^ 1.0

kt 0.2




00[0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8-1.0

00:0 0:2 014 016 0:8 5.0


Fig. 3. The distribution P(kt; Kt) for six locations (Lisbon, Athens, Maputo, Trappes, Oviedo, Madrid) shows independence from latitude and climate.

is important for utilisability studies and for the construction of autoregressive solar radiation models. A more detailed analysis will be made in this section, with the objective of obtaining a suitable parametrisation for it. The modal value, i.e., the peak position of the elementary probability distribution function, moves from lower to higher/q values as the solar altitude increases. An interesting characteristic of the data is that this peak is not located close to the maximum value (as in the case of daily radiation for high/(t). Instead, it is located very close to the average value ~ of the elementary distribution, with the probability decreasing smoothly from the peak value to the clear-sky maximum value k~. From the physical point of view, this means that although solar radiation often reaches its maximum on an instantaneous time scale (as reported by Suercke and McCormick [ 7 ] ), this condition does not often persist for longer periods such as one hour. A result not readily expected is that the variance has a minimum (skewness and peakness have a maximum) around Kt = 0.62, recalled from Section 3.2 to be the peak position for the total hourly probability distribution. All the locations of the database have shown a similar behaviour. It seems that from this value on, values corresponding to cloudy situations disap-

pear: all the k, values are sunny values. Therefore, the subsequent evolution of the distribution is characterised not by having more and more values close to the modal point of the distribution, but rather by having more and more values close to the clear-sky maximum. An analytical expression for the elementary /4 probability distribution is di~cult to obtain because two parameters strongly influence its shape, Kt and h. However, the inspection of plots of P(k~; K,; h) suggested that a simple Gaussian function might be a very good first approximation. Recalling that the two central moments completely define a Gaussian distribution, correlations for average and standard deviation should be sufficient for establishing the desired analytical form. Since a Gaussian P(k~; K,; h) would extend itself through unphysical/(1 values, the precaution of truncating at 0 and at k~ must be taken. The error implied by this operation, i.e., the difference between the integral of the truncated Gaussians and l (which must be the value of the integral of a probability distribution through its domain), is seldom bigger than 2% for the current database. Further sophistication is possible. Skewness properties can be introduced simply by displacing the Gaussian curve on the kt axis, truncating at 0 a n d / ~ , and multiplying by a correction factor to account for




~., ~ 0.0

~.~ Q !

0.5 kt

~" 1.0

0.5 kt 1.0





1.0 ~.0 kt/ktrn

~ ~ ,

~ " "-~


1.0 kt/ktIll

~.0 3.0

~" -"

Fig. 4. The unmixed probability of occurrence of/q (top drawings) does not translate into a stationary. function, when kt is scaled with its average value ktm at each hour (bottom drawings). Two example ranges of Kt are represented (Athens data, 196 I- 1982 ).

the reduction in area below the displaced curve. However, such increase of complexity seems unnecessary: the resulting improvement of the higher-order moments was not greater than 4% and skewed elementary distributions were rarely found. 4.2 Parametrising a Gaussian expression for P ( ~ ; K,; h) A parametrisation for the average value o f / q , denoted ktm, is already known[16]: ktm = gt(a + b cos w); a = 0.4090 + 0.5016 sin(ws - ~r/3); b = 0.6609 - 0.4767 sin(ws - ~r/3). (la) (lb) (lc)

Other forms[6] have been proposed. It is worthwhile noting, that the average ofk, (same as/qm's) for a day with clearness index Kt, is lower than Kt: this can easily be seen taking the average of ktm in eqn ( l a ) or by direct inspection of Fig. 2. In this paper, the more c o m m o n and more easily available values K, and /ft are used as average parameters, instead of the average daily k, and of kt. The standard deviation a exhibits a complex behaviour with Kt and solar altitude. Figure 6 shows the surface cr(/q; Kt, h), for the locations in Table !. The data is represented raw, apart from kridging interpolation to a regular grid at Kt = 0.15 and Kt = 0.75. Some of the features displayed, especially for the highest Kt and h values, appear to be spurious and to result

Properties of hourly global radiation



Partial autocorrelation
_ m m m m .


123 1~ I::1 [:3 U3 O

i:j if] 123 [2]

............................... " ........


-0.4 0





Fig. 5. Hourly partial autocorrelationfor kt sequences(Athens data, 1961-1982). Dotted lines show RMS deviation of observations (ll, 1st order: [53,2nd order autocorrelation).

from lack of statistical significance, due to the lack of sufficient data. Inspection of the a surfaces reveals that usually, for low Kt the # values run more or less linearly between the curves for sin h = 0.05 and sin h = 0.95; and that for high Kt values, they evolve more like decreasing exponentials. The general expression for fitting the cr surface was therefore chosen to be o-(/q; Kt, h) : A(Kt)exp{ - B ( K , ) s i n h} (2a)

since, as sin h < I, for small enough B values the behaviour ofeqn (2a) will be close to linear. To obtain the values of A and B, two convenient data points would be those at the extremes of the h range. However, these are computed with small statistical significance. The a value corresponding to the bin defined by sin h < 0.05 is obtained from radiation data measured near sunrise or sunset; it contains a large number of unphysical and / or unreasonable values and, even when filtered, the data still present large relative errors. The a value corresponding to sin h > 0.95 is obtained from very few measurements, since the sun's position is rarely so close to the zenith. For obtaining good fits and simultaneously considering a statistically significant amount of data, the two points chosen consisted of averages taken in the vicinity of the extreme values of h:

There are now two possibilities: ( ! ) parametrising or, and (r,, and obtaining A and B from them; or, (2) computing A and B from (r, and a, for each Kt, and obtaining a fit for those coefficients. The first method was chosen, because the resultant fits will be related more directly with the observed data. In Tables 2 and 3, results for polynomial fits of a~ and an are reported. Figure 7 displays the values of A and B computed with these approximations. The parametrisations for the average and the variance discussed previously were used to make comparative plots of the observed and Gaussian distributions. There was a good agreement only for the range Kt < 0.45. But very good correspondence has been obtained by using standard deviation values somewhat smaller than those observed, or obtained from eqn (2a) (say, some 30%) (see Fig. 8, for example). A closer analysis of several case studies has shown that occasionally, very low and very high kt values do appear in the data, in spite of checks and filtering with clearsky models. This increases the computed standard deviation, reducing the worth of this parameter as an estimate of the characteristic widths of the distributions. Therefore, the fits reported in Tables 2 and 3 are to be taken with caution. The dependence of the parameters describing the a surface with parameters characteristic of each place, such as latitude, average annual/~t, and the turbidity of the atmosphere is not yet clear from the data. It is seen that, for all locations, A and B share the same behaviour with respect to Kt, and that even its quantitative values are not very different. The locations can be ordered by the magnitude of the polynomial coefficients a~, as it was done in Tables 2 and 3. However, not only the ordering of (r, is different from as, but there seems to be no relationship with the Angstrom sum a + b (an indicator of the average turbidity of the atmosphere over the location), or with the annual average of/(t. Clearly, the subject deserves further study for practical application purposes.

5. CONCLUSIONS The results of computing statistics for entire months of daily or hourly data--the mixed approach--were briefly reviewed. They support the existence of weak stationarity properties for the probability distribution functions: the scaled distributions P(Kt; /(t)//(~ and P(kt; /(t; h)/kt(h) are similar. Further, their shape seems to depend only on their average value. Computing statistics for the hourly data with the unmixed approach--i.e., binning data according to Kt and solar altitude---displays its nonstationary and timeinhomogeneous character, especially for the range K, > 0.45. As a consequence, the elementary functions P(kt; Kt; h) no longer obey some similarity law. However, some new features emerge from the unmixed statistics: the P(kt; Kt; h) functions can be taken as truncated Gaussians, with average and standard deviation that can be parametrised by K, and h.

a,(K,) = a( i.0 < sin h < 0.8;/(i)

a,(K,) = a(0.0 < sin h -< 0.2; Kt).


In this case, the expressions for the coefficients of the exponential will read: A = o-,exp(0.1B), B = 1/0.8 a,, ln(~r,,/#,,). (2b) (2c)



"~.. ~
13. 1
I L K @ . "~

": l / l / l / I l l
-+~ o. 1,5 --~-~~




~. Athens _ )

q I I I~/

/ /1V@."~








I I IlI&-~
~" "~z


I I I I\




Fig. 6. The surfaces a(kt; Kt, h) for several locations.

Properties of hourly global radiation





i *iiillf''''
0.2 . . . 0.4 . Kt






5 3
A a ~

.................... l ..................... .=-.-....l..-i.-il..............................................................


. .0.2. . . 0.4


Fig. 7. Coetficients of the exponential fit to the a surfaces for several locations. Values for the range Kt > 0.75 are obtained with very few data and may not be statisticallysignificant.

The unmixed approach provides a new look of the features displayed by the mixed approach. Sequential characteristics for kl must be taken suspiciously since the sequences from which they are computed are not stationary. The efforts that have been made to obtain good analytical expressions for the distributions P(kt; Kt) and P(/q;/~t) can also be analysed under this approach. Although each group of authors reports good fits with their particular set of data [ 8,1 I ], it is verified that for other locations the fit is often poor: in general, modal and maximum values show lags with respect to

the observed positions[14], and there is also an underestimation of the peak probability values. It is now seen that these highly asymmetric distributions are obtained from the superposition of almost symmetric elementary distributions. Peaks result from the superposition ofP(/q; K,, h) functions for the central hours of the day, with almost the same average and variance; tails result from the superposition ofP(/q; K,, h) functions with very different average and variance. At each latitude, the evolution of the solar altitude h, for a certain day and month, is expected to be different and,



0.3 0.2


.20<sin h<x.50




1.0 .40<sin h~.50

0.5 0.2


0.0 0.0
. . . .


0.4 ktO.6



therefore, the shapes of the functions P(/q;/~t) should indeed show a complex behaviour with respect to latitude and month. The dil~culties met while designing or simulating the performance of solar systems with overall hourly distributions or daily distributions, could also be explained as a result of time inhomogeneity in hourly radiation sequences. For example, when compared with the elementary distributions, in the early/late hours of the day the overall kt distribution peaks at higher values; and in the midday hours, it peaks at lower values. There is no full energetic compensation between these two effects, since at early/late hours the extraterrestrial value of radiation is lower than at hours closer to noon. Taking explicitly into account nonstationarity and time inhomogeneity in hourly radiation creates new prospects for future work. For instance, from a practical point of view, models for generating synthetic time series of hourly radiation can be constructed with those characteristics in mind. And from a theoretical point of view, within the present state-of-the-art research, an explanation is lacking for questions such as why Gaussian functions are very good fits for elementary k, distributions, or why average and standard deviation values are nearly proportional to each other for large ranges of Kt and h (not shown in this paper). In the near future, a sound physical approach to these problems is expected to bring more simplified and accurate methods for solar system dimensioning.

0.3 0.2


.60<sin h<x.70

I, I1 hourly, daily radiation


0.0 0.0




0.4 kt0.6



Fig. 8. Random examples of observed elementaD distributions (solid lines) and correspondent fitted Gaussian curves (broken lines), for Athens (1961-1982).

A,B a,b

hourly, daily monthly average radiation daily clearness index monthly average of KI hourly clearness index average hourly clearness index for a certain day and hour probability density function of a variable x, parametrised by other variables ),~, Yz partial autocorrelation coefficients for a lag of i hours autocorrelation coetficient for a lag of i hours solar hour angle sunset/sunrise solar hour angle solar altitude angle standard deviation coefficients of an exponential fit coel~cients of Angstrom-type regressions

Table 2. Coetficients of 4th degree polynomials describing

ao 0t a2




Madrid Lisbon Maputo Trappes Oviedo Athens t

0.29 0.28 0.30 0.44 0.61 0.98

- 1.95 -2.12 -2.95 -4.57 -6.66 - 11.69

7.94 9.50 13.75 20.81 29.34 51.98

- 12.76 - 16.50 -23.90 - 36.34 - 50.66 -90.90

6.96 9.07 14.03 21.59 30.17 54.69

* Values for o,(K,) defined as o (0.0 < sin h < 0.2" K,).

Properties of hourly global radiation Table 3. Coefficients of 4th degree polynomials describing a, ao Trappes Oviedo Lisbon Maputo Madrid Athens 0.18 0.20 0.31 0.34 0.36 0.37 ai - 1.40 - 1.66 -3.16 -3.39 -3.40 - 3.79 az 7.61 8.59 14.27 15.52 15.35 17.74 a3 - 14.01 - 15.53 -23.55 -26.04 -25.95 - 31.19 a4 8.01 8.77 12.63 14.21 15.32 17.95



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