Measurements of the ground-level solar irradiance from Palmer Station, Antarctica, and Ushuaia, Argentina, reveal a systematic wavelength dependence in the attenuation provided by cloudy skies. As wavelength increases from 350 to 600 nm, the measured cloudy-sky irradiance, expressed as a fraction of the clear-sky value, decreases. Results from Ushuaia for a solar zenith angle of 45° show that a cloudy sky that reduces the spectral irradiance at 500 nm to 50% of that for clear skies is accompanied by irradiances at 350 and 600 nm, which are approximately 59% and 49%, respectively, of the clear sky value. A weaker wavelength dependence appears in the data for Palmer Station. The observed behavior can arise from Rayleigh backscattering of sunlight beneath the cloud, followed by reflection of this upwelling radiation from the cloud base back to the ground. This sequence of events is most effective at short wavelengths and leads to cloudy skies providing less overall attenuation as wavelength decreases.
|Original language||American English|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journals of the Atmospheric Sciences|
|State||Published - 15 Dec 1997|