About One Minute Solar Data

Introduction

The Bureau of Meteorology has been measuring a range of solar parameters for several decades. The development of a new high quality observation system, which first became operational in 1993, has facilitated the measurement of one minute solar statistics. Data have been recorded at 29 locations, however not all stations will be available with this release as further processing is required on some of the earlier data.

This web service provides access to those data packaged as one station-month data files. A USB drive of all available one minute solar data, together with associated weather data (when available) is also available on request for a cost-recovery charge.

Solar data available

The one minute solar data provided through this service include a range of solar statistics, including global, diffuse, direct and terrestrial irradiance and sunshine-seconds. The solar data are provided in a compressed (zip) text, comma-separated variable format. Global solar exposure from satellite is also available on this website, while a range of other solar products can be requested from the Bureau.

One minute solar data is not a real-time product. Data are generally processed at three-monthly intervals, nominally two months after the last date to be processed. For example, while the exact timing may vary, January to March data would normally be processed in May. This delay allows us to detect (and correct if appropriate) longer-term drift in instruments and other errors which only become apparent after some time. It is not currently possible to provide near real-time data.

Retrieving data

An image of the interface to download the solar data is shown below

interface sample

Data are available one month at a time, one station at a time, to manage download capacity. The basic steps to retrieve data are as follows:

  1. Select a station. This can be done using either the first menu item at the top of the map (labelled '1' in the image above), or by clicking on one of the symbols representing an observation station ( '5').
  2. View station details. Basic station metadata ('2') are available to provide the user with supporting information about the station location, instrumentation, skyline, nearby vegetation, and other information which may be relevant to the observed solar parameters.
  3. View station holdings chart. A graph is created which shows the completeness of record for each year for which data are available at the selected station. It does not show which days during the year the data are available.
  4. Change background map. This option is provided to provide a quick display of various solar-related climate parameters; specifically, global solar exposure, sunshine hours, 9am cloud, and 3pm cloud.
  5. Download data. One month of solar data (all elements in one compressed file) can be downloaded by clicking on the download icon ( download icon ) associated with the desired month/year in the table which appears below the map ('6')

Accessing this service, data updates, and bulk data

Before gaining access to this service all users will need to register with the Bureau. Registration is available via the One Minute Solar Data registration form. While access to the data is free, this restriction has been implemented to assist the Bureau in managing the potentially large data downloads associated with this service.

Since new and occasionally updated data become available on an intermittent basis only once the standard quality assurance process has been completed, an RSS update function has been provided through which the user can receive notification when new data are available. This can be activated by clicking on the RSS link (denoted by  rss icon  ). A delay of a number of weeks is typical, in order that longer period issues such as sensor drift can be detected.

A USB drive of all one minute solar data, as well as corresponding one minute weather data (e.g. air temperature, wind speed, humidity, etc) is also available. More information is available on the Data Services web page. One minute weather data is not available via this online service.

 

This product was produced with the support of the Australian Government through the Australian Solar Institute.

 

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Page updated: 29 August 2012