Main content area

Updated and validated solar irradiance reference spectra for estimating environmental photodegradation rates

Apell, Jennifer N., McNeill, Kristopher
Environmental science 2019 v.21 no.3 pp. 427-437
environmental science, half life, latitude, light intensity, models, photolysis, radiative transfer, solar radiation, spectroradiometers
Irradiance reference spectra are used to calculate environmentally relevant photodegradation half-lives, but the currently used spectra were originally published in the 1980s with limited validation. The goal of this work is to provide updated irradiance reference spectra using the Simple Model of the Atmospheric Radiative Transfer of Sunshine (SMARTS). The SMARTS irradiance spectra were validated against measurements from several high-resolution spectroradiometers, and the updated irradiance reference spectra use current measurements for atmospheric species that can affect the irradiance that reaches the Earth's surface. These updated irradiance spectra are provided in 1 nm increments from 280 to 800 nm for 0° to 70° latitude at 10° increments in both the northern and southern hemisphere. Lastly, the influence of the input parameters on the modeled irradiance spectra was investigated. This work will allow users to calculate more accurate photodegradation half-lives using the updated irradiance reference spectra, and it also provides insight for users to calculate their own location- and time-specific irradiance spectra using SMARTS.