Validation and stability assessment of the monthly mean CM SAF surface solar radiation dataset over Europe against a homogenized surface dataset (1983-2005)

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This work presents a validation of the downwelling surface shortwave radiation, or surface solar radiation (SSR), derived from the Satellite Application Facility on Climate Monitoring (CM SAF) over Europe for a 23-year period of records on a monthly basis. This SSR product has been recently derived based on the visible channel of the Meteosat First Generation satellites, providing a dataset with a high spatial resolution (0.03°×0.03°) covering the 1983-2005 period. The CM SAF SSR product is compared against a homogeneous dataset of surface observations from the Global Energy Balance Archive (GEBA) over Europe, which has been homogenized by means of the Standard Normal Homogeneity Test (SNHT). The results show a good agreement between both datasets (r2=0.86, p<0.01), with a slight overestimation (bias of +5.20Wm-2) of the CM SAF records as compared to the surface observations on a monthly mean basis. Equally, there is a monthly mean absolute bias difference (MABD) of 8.19Wm-2 that is below the accuracy threshold defined by the CM SAF. There is a clear maximum and minimum MABD during summer and winter, respectively, with an opposite cycle if the relative MABD values are considered. Moreover, the temporal stability of the CM SAF SSR is checked against the GEBA stations for the mean time series over Europe, as well as for each individual series. The results point to possible inhomogeneities in the CM SAF records around 1987 and 1994, possibly due to changes in the satellite instruments, although other factors such as the lack of aerosol retrievals in the CM SAF SSR are also discussed. Consequently, the study of the means and trends in the SSR derived from CM SAF is only recommended for the records after 1994 ​
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