Abstract

A radiometrically stable, commercially available spectroradiometer was used in conjunction with a simple, custom-designed telescope to make spectrally continuous measurements of solar spectral transmittance and directly transmitted solar spectral irradiance. The wavelength range of the instrument is 350–2500 nm and the resolution is 3–11.7 nm. Laboratory radiometric calibrations show the instrument to be stable to better than 1.0% over a nine-month period. The instrument and telescope are highly portable, can be set up in a matter of minutes, and can be operated by one person. A method of absolute radiometric calibration that can be tied to published top-of-the-atmosphere (TOA) solar spectra in valid Langley channels as well as regions of strong molecular absorption is also presented. High-altitude Langley plot calibration experiments indicate that this technique is limited ultimately by the current uncertainties in the TOA solar spectra, approximately 2–3%. Example comparisons of measured and modtran-modeled direct solar irradiance show that the model can be parameterized to agree with measurements over the large majority of the wavelength range to the 3% level for the two example cases shown. Side-by-side comparisons with a filter-based solar radiometer are in excellent agreement, with a mean absolute difference of τ = 0.0036 for eight overlapping wavelengths over three experiment days.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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