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A review of the CIE general sky classification approaches


  • Li, Danny H.W.
  • Chau, T.C.
  • Wan, Kevin K.W.


Recently, the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) has adopted a range of 15 standard sky distributions representing the whole probable spectrum of actual skies in the world. Each sky standard has its own well-defined sky luminance pattern which can be conveniently used to calculate the sky radiance and luminance for a given sky patch and the solar irradiance and daylight illuminance on inclined surfaces facing various orientations. The crucial issues are whether the skies could be correctly identified. This paper presents the work on the classification of the CIE Standard General Skies using various climatic parameters and indices. Meteorological variables namely luminance distribution for the whole sky including zenith luminance, global, direct-beam and sky-diffuse illuminance on a horizontal surface and vertical sky illuminance, and horizontal and vertical solar irradiance data are adopted for analysis. The results demonstrate that there are a number of appropriate climatic parameters for sky classification and the selection depends on their availability, accuracy and sensitivity. The approaches could contribute to the estimation of solar irradiance and daylight illuminance which are essential to the renewable and sustainable developments and energy-efficient building designs.

Suggested Citation

  • Li, Danny H.W. & Chau, T.C. & Wan, Kevin K.W., 2014. "A review of the CIE general sky classification approaches," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 563-574.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:31:y:2014:i:c:p:563-574
    DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2013.12.018

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Li, Danny H.W. & Lau, Chris C.S. & Lam, Joseph C., 2005. "Predicting daylight illuminance on inclined surfaces using sky luminance data," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1649-1665.
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    Cited by:

    1. Li, Danny H.W. & Lou, Siwei & Lam, Joseph C. & Wu, Ronald H.T., 2016. "Determining solar irradiance on inclined planes from classified CIE (International Commission on Illumination) standard skies," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 462-470.
    2. Lou, Siwei & Li, Danny.H.W. & Chen, Wenqiang, 2019. "Identifying overcast, partly cloudy and clear skies by illuminance fluctuations," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 198-211.
    3. Ramírez-Faz, J. & López-Luque, R. & Casares, F.J., 2015. "Development of synthetic hemispheric projections suitable for assessing the sky view factor on vertical planes," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 279-286.
    4. Lou, Siwei & Li, Danny H.W. & Lam, Joseph C., 2017. "CIE Standard Sky classification by accessible climatic indices," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 347-356.


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