Stochastic modeling of sunshine number data

Brabec, Marek; Paulescu, Marius; Badescu, Viorel
November 2013
AIP Conference Proceedings;Nov2013, Vol. 1564 Issue 1, p178
Academic Journal
In this paper, we will present a unified statistical modeling framework for estimation and forecasting sunshine number (SSN) data. Sunshine number has been proposed earlier to describe sunshine time series in qualitative terms (Theor Appl Climatol 72 (2002) 127-136) and since then, it was shown to be useful not only for theoretical purposes but also for practical considerations, e.g. those related to the development of photovoltaic energy production. Statistical modeling and prediction of SSN as a binary time series has been challenging problem, however. Our statistical model for SSN time series is based on an underlying stochastic process formulation of Markov chain type. We will show how its transition probabilities can be efficiently estimated within logistic regression framework. In fact, our logistic Markovian model can be relatively easily fitted via maximum likelihood approach. This is optimal in many respects and it also enables us to use formalized statistical inference theory to obtain not only the point estimates of transition probabilities and their functions of interest, but also related uncertainties, as well as to test of various hypotheses of practical interest, etc. It is straightforward to deal with non-homogeneous transition probabilities in this framework. Very importantly from both physical and practical points of view, logistic Markov model class allows us to test hypotheses about how SSN dependents on various external covariates (e.g. elevation angle, solar time, etc.) and about details of the dynamic model (order and functional shape of the Markov kernel, etc.). Therefore, using generalized additive model approach (GAM), we can fit and compare models of various complexity which insist on keeping physical interpretation of the statistical model and its parts. After introducing the Markovian model and general approach for identification of its parameters, we will illustrate its use and performance on high resolution SSN data from the Solar Radiation Monitoring Station of the West University of Timisoara.


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