Modelling Variations in Solar Irradiance

Atmospheric Thickness and the Eclipse of 2017

  • Kirsti Long MacEwan University


The Sun is the main source of energy for Earth, and governs most atmospheric, biological, and environmental processes. Solar irradiance is the total amount of radiation reaching Earth's surface, in watts per square metre, from the sun. The amount of radiation reaching Earth's surface can be measured with a pyranometer and is governed by the solar constant, atmospheric thickness, atmospheric composition, and beam dilution. In this project we have modeled the solar irradiance expected from a plane-parallel atmosphere in order to determine the sensitivity of the PYR-BTA Vernier Pyranometer to variations in atmospheric transparency from atmospheric haze with the intent to quantify atmospheric pollution levels in urban areas.  We used the solar irradiance data captured from MacEwan University to model the partial solar eclipse of August 21, 2017.

Discipline: Physical Sciences

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Orla Aaquist