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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Estimation of Solar Radiation Data Missing from Long-Term Meteorological Records


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 84 No. 4, p. 739-742
    Received: Jan 28, 1928

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. J. E. Hook  and
  2. R. W. McClendon



Solar radiation has a direct effect on plant growth and, thus, is used in most crop growth models. At most locations in the USA, though these measurements have been made only in recent years. At Tifton, GA, a 53-yr (1938–1990) record was available with meteorological observations consisting of maximudminimum temperature, precipitation, and pan evaporation. Only during the last 15 yr was solar radiation data available. To allow us to use these data to evaluate realistic scenarios for drought occurrence studies, we developed a method to estimate daily global solar radiation. Using a 13-yr record of meteorological observations with solar radiation, a regression equation was developed to determine daily solar radiation from maximum and minimum air temperature, pan evaporation, precipitation, and calculated extraterrestrial radiation. A random component was added to express the variability associated with the unmeasured degree of cloudiness. The radiation estimate had the same variances and means as observed data and an overall correlation of 7876. The 53-yr record with estimated solar radiation represents an intermediate step between computer generated radiation scenarios and fully measured data. The approach presented here should help to complete long-term weather records so that crop growth and water balance models can be applied to historical data.

Contribution from the Div. of Agron. and Div. of Agric. Eng., Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA. Supported by USGS and State and Hatch Funds allocated to the Georgia Agric. Exp. Stations. Coastal Plain Exp. Stn., P.O. Box 748, Tifton, GA 31793-0748.

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