The role of clouds in improving the regression model for hourly values of diffuse solar radiation
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The study introduces a new regression model developed to estimate the hourly values of diffuse solar radiation at the surface. The model is based on the clearness index and diffuse fraction relationship, and includes the effects of cloud (cloudiness and cloud type), traditional meteorological variables (air temperature, relative humidity and atmospheric pressure observed at the surface) and air pollution (concentration of particulate matter observed at the surface). The new model is capable of predicting hourly values of diffuse solar radiation better than the previously developed ones (R-2 = 0.93 and RMSE = 0.085). A simple version with a large applicability is proposed that takes into consideration cloud effects only (cloudiness and cloud height) and shows a R-2 = 0.92. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.