Assessment and Correction of Solar Radiation Measurements with Simple Neural Networks
Solar radiation received at the Earth's surface provides the energy driving all micro-meteorological phenomena. Local solar radiation measurements are used to estimate energy mediated processes such as evapotranspiration (ET); this information is important in managing natural resources. However, the technical requirements to reliably measure solar radiation limits more extensive adoption of data-driven management. High-quality radiation sensors are expensive, delicate, and require skill to
... quire skill to maintain. In contrast, low-cost sensors are widely available, but may lack long-term reliability and intra-sensor repeatability. As weather stations measure solar radiation and other parameters simultaneously, machine learning can be used to integrate various types of environmental data, identify periods of erroneous measurements, and estimate corrected values. We demonstrate two case studies in which we use neural networks (NN) to augment direct radiation measurements with data from co-located sensors, and generate radiation estimates with comparable accuracy to the data typically available from agro-meteorology networks. NN models that incorporated radiometer data reproduced measured radiation with an R2 of 0.9–0.98, and RMSE less than 100 Wm−2, while models using only weather parameters obtained R2 less than 0.75 and RMSE greater than 140 Wm−2. These cases show that a simple NN implementation can complement standard procedures for estimating solar radiation, create opportunities to measure radiation at low-cost, and foster adoption of data-driven management.