Category Archives: Dust

Weather Data

Weather data sources are presented that were collated to support wind and solar resource assessment, engineering design, and power system monitoring.  Data sources include ground stations, satellite observation networks, reanalysis data, forecasts systems, and aerosol models.

All links and content have been extracted from data source websites to facilitate ease of access to data servers.  Please contribute if you find links have changed or data product definitions should be updated.

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Aerosols and Solar Extinction



Desert Aerosols, Doha, Qatar – Click to enlarge

Aerosols directly and indirectly effect the Earth’s radiation budget and climate.  As a direct effect, aerosols absorb and scatter sunlight, affecting the spectral intensity of solar radiation reaching the earth’s surface.   As an indirect effect, atmospheric aerosols modify cloud formation processes and how clouds affect the energy budget.

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Glare from Solar PV Modules

PV_array_glareA common question concerning the safety of photovoltaic (PV) power systems is the impact of reflected sunlight.  PV modules have the potential to impact neighboring structures or activities, notably aviation.  It is important to know where the reflected light will go and what the intensity of the light will be at any point in time.

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Aerosol Animation

Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) defines the degree to which aerosols prevent the transmission of sunlight by absorption or scattering.  AOD is measured using an integrated extinction coefficient over a vertical column of air.  The extinction coefficient can be used to analyze solar extinction and the performance of solar power systems as a function of location and time.


Posted in Animation, Data, Dust, Meteorology, Modeling, Qatar RE, R Data Import, R Graphics, Resource Assessment, Saudi Arabia, Solar, Spatial Analysis | Leave a comment

O&M for PV Plants in MENA

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority

This week, PV Insider, CSP Today and MENASOL hosted a seminar on Optimal O&M for PV Plants in MENA.  It gave practical insight into some of the soiling and O&M issues that developers, asset managers, and debt providers take into account in O&M planning and budgeting.

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Meteosat Solar Data

Meteosat solar dataThe Meteosat series of satellites are equatorial geostationary satellites operated for meteorological data collection by EUMETSAT.  Meteosat solar data is obtained under the Meteosat First Generation (MFG) and the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) programs.  EUMETSAT is responsible for the launch and operation of the satellites and for delivering satellite data to end-users.

Data for renewable energy resource assessment, particularly solar energy, can be accessed from the EUMETSAT Satellite Application Facility (SAF) for Land Surface Analysis (LSA) located here.  This article provides essential reference data for working with Meteosat solar data.

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Dust and the Shamal Winds

Dust2Dust aerosols are one of the greatest sources of uncertainty in atmospheric modeling and solar energy forecasting.  Aerosols vary in time and space, and can lead to meso-scale variations in cloud cover, temperature, and ground-level radiation.  

In the GCC countries, dust storms are most evident during the change in seasons when the Shamal wind is at its strongest.  This was evidenced on the evening of October 29, when Doha experienced accelerated winds just prior to sunset, combined with limited visibility over a 2 hour period as shown in the picture below:

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