Standard Active Last Updated: Mar 22, 2023 Track Document
ASTM E816-15(2023)

Standard Test Method for Calibration of Pyrheliometers by Comparison to Reference Pyrheliometers

Standard Test Method for Calibration of Pyrheliometers by Comparison to Reference Pyrheliometers E0816-15R23 ASTM|E0816-15R23|en-US Standard Test Method for Calibration of Pyrheliometers by Comparison to Reference Pyrheliometers Standard new BOS Vol. 14.04 Committee G03
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Significance and Use

4.1 Though the sun trackers employed, the number of instantaneous readings, and the data acquisition equipment used will vary from instrument to instrument and from laboratory to laboratory, this test method provides for the minimum acceptable conditions, procedures, and techniques required.

4.2 While the greatest accuracy will be obtained when calibrating pyrheliometers with a self-calibrating absolute cavity pyrheliometer that has been demonstrated by intercomparison to be within ±0.5 % of the mean irradiance of a family of similar absolute instruments, acceptable accuracy can be achieved by careful attention to the requirements of this test method when transferring calibration from a secondary reference to a field pyrheliometer.

4.3 By meeting the requirements of this test method, traceability of calibration to the World Radiometric Reference (WRR) can be achieved through one or more of the following recognized intercomparisons:

4.3.1 International Pyrheliometric Comparison (IPC) VII, Davos, Switzerland, held in 1990, and every five years thereafter, and the PMO-2 absolute cavity pyrheliometer that is the primary reference instrument of WMO.6

4.3.2 Any WMO-sanctioned intercomparison of self-calibrating absolute cavity pyrheliometers held in WMO Region IV (North and Central America).

4.3.3 Any sanctioned or non-sanctioned intercomparison held in the United States the purpose of which is to transfer the WRR from the primary reference absolute cavity pyrheliometer maintained as the primary reference standard of the United States by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Solar Radiation Facility in Boulder, CO.7

4.3.4 Any future intercomparisons of comparable reference quality in which at least one self-calibrating absolute cavity pyrheliometer is present that participated in IPC VII or a subsequent IPC, and in which that pyrheliometer is treated as the intercomparison's reference instrument.

4.3.5 Any of the absolute radiometers participating in the above intercomparisons and being within ±0.5 % of the mean of all similar instruments compared in any of those intercomparisons.

4.4 The calibration transfer method employed assumes that the accuracy of the values obtained are independent of time of year and, within the constraints imposed, time of day of measurements. With respect to time of year, the requirement for normal incidence dictates a tile angle from the horizontal that is dependent on the sun's zenith angle and, thus, the air mass limits for that time of year and time of day.


1.1 This test method has been harmonized with, and is technically equivalent to, ISO 9059.

1.2 Two types of calibrations are covered by this test method. One is the calibration of a secondary reference pyrheliometer using an absolute cavity pyrheliometer as the primary standard pyrheliometer, and the other is the transfer of calibration from a secondary reference to one or more field pyrheliometers. This test method prescribes the calibration procedures and the calibration hierarchy, or traceability, for transfer of the calibrations.

Note 1: It is not uncommon, and is indeed desirable, for both the reference and field pyrheliometers to be of the same manufacturer and model designation.

1.3 This test method is relevant primarily for the calibration of reference pyrheliometers with field angles of 5° to 6°, using as the primary reference instrument a self-calibrating absolute cavity pyrheliometer having field angles of about 5°. Pyrheliometers with field angles greater than 6.5° shall not be designated as reference pyrheliometers.

1.4 When this test method is used to transfer calibration to field pyrheliometers having field angles both less than 5° or greater than 6.5°, it will be necessary to employ the procedure defined by Angstrom and Rodhe.2

1.5 This test method requires that the spectral response of the absolute cavity chosen as the primary standard pyrheliometer be nonselective over the range from 0.3 μm to 10 μm wavelength. Both reference and field pyrheliometers covered by this test method shall be nonselective over a range from 0.3 μm to 4 μm wavelength.

1.6 The primary and secondary reference pyrheliometers shall not be field instruments and their exposure to sunlight shall be limited to calibration or intercomparisons. These reference instruments shall be stored in an isolated cabinet or room equipped with standard laboratory temperature and humidity control.

Note 2: At a laboratory where calibrations are performed regularly, it is advisable to maintain a group of two or three secondary reference pyrheliometers that are included in every calibration. These serve as controls to detect any instability or irregularity in the standard reference pyrheliometer.

1.7 This test method is applicable to calibration procedures using natural sunshine only.

1.8 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.9 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 14.04
Developed by Subcommittee: G03.09
Pages: 11
DOI: 10.1520/E0816-15R23
ICS Code: 27.160