Meteorology: Climate Study and Long Term Monitoring / Modeling
The Earth’s radiation budget is a critical component of our weather and climate, atmospheric circulation and ocean currents. Therefore, reliable and accurate long term measurements of shortwave and longwave irradiance are essential for detecting climate change trends. This area has been the primary focus of The Eppley Laboratory for almost a century and our instruments have been in use around the globe. From grassy plains, rain forests, deserts, remote mountains, polar regions, equatorial regions, on aircraft and balloons, on ships and ocean buoys. Customers include Universities & Government Institutions from every continent and often working in cooperation with other institutions to create networks of stations that measure and study accurate, reliable, long term data sets of Solar & Atmospheric conditions.
There is tremendous interest in decreasing the world’s reliance on fossil fuel energy and increasing production of Alternative “Green” Energy such as Solar Power. Photovoltaic (PV) and Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) are two rapidly growing industries worldwide to meet these objectives. Accurate solar measurements are be used for determining the best site selections for the plants, for predicting solar inputs and for testing the performance of the plants based on the inputs.
In general, a PV site will mount a SPP Pyranometer in the plane of the array to measure the “Total Irradiance in the plane of array” (TPA) and the CSP site will use the sNIP Pyrheliometer on an SMT Tracker to measure Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI). Often though, the researchers will prefer to intall a complete solar monitoring station to measure Global, Diffuse and Direct (and TPA).
Solar Reference (PV) Cells are made of the same materials used in PV Panels are are common for evaluating the performance of PV. However, different designs and constructions of Reference Cells result in different performance results due to temperature and spectral selectivity. Therefore, the SPP Pyranometer is used as a thermopile based standard for different Reference Cells to be compared with traceabilty to the World Radiation Reference (WRR).
Testing of materials and systems of all types are performed with solar, UV and infrared measurements playing a critical role. These tests vary widely over many industries. Examples include color or material degradation due to UV exposure; performance testing on heating & cooling (AC) systems in buildings, automobiles, military vehicles, and aircraft; reflectance tests of low angled roofs or paving materials, improving bottling for soda, milk and other liquids. These tests can be done outdoors using the sun as the source or in Solar/Temperature Chambers in the lab and allow for repeating tests in multiple locations.