Solar observation FAQs

How accurate are the solar data?
The Bureau generally uses a measure of uncertainty to describe the confidence we have in the data. Data quality assurance and quality control of the station measurements are such that the target of 95% uncertainties for any minute exposure quantity of 3% or 900 Jm-2 (which ever is the greater) have been achieved and improved upon. Studies indicate that, for monthly satellite-derived global exposures, data have an uncertainty of approximately 7%. The uncertainty will increase as we go to finer - daily and hourly - temporal resolution data.
How do I know what equipment has been used to make observations?
The Bureau's Climate Data Online product provides access to station metadata, which include a summary of the equipment installed at a site. The station metadata file for Alice Springs provides an example of the types of information available.
What is the spectral range of satellite-derived solar data?
The spectral range of the satellite imaging equipment providing the raw data used in creating the Bureau's solar maps is narrower than that of a ground-based pyranometer, and differs between types of satellite. However, the Bureau's computer model compensates for this limitation when calculating the solar irradiance.