Improving solar radiation weather forecasting for solar energy production

Marie-Adèle Magnaldo is a 2nd year Ph.D. student at Météo-France. Her thesis aims to improve the accuracy of solar irradiance forecasts for solar energy production.

Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models have been developed for nearly a century, primarily to help predicting the occurrence of extreme meteorological events and protecting people and goods. In the last decades, the number of economic activities relying on NWP has greatly increased and now includes the energy sector. Despite the constant evolution of the expectations of the final users, only limited changes have been implemented in the way NWP models are designed, optimized, evaluated and run. As a consequence, many users simply take what is available from operational forecasts and have developed sophisticated post-processing tools to adapt the forecasts to their actual needs. Limited interactions between the atmospheric sciences community and the final users of weather forecasts has in particular precluded a faster improvement of RES forecasts.


Marie-Adèle’s thesis aims to improve the accuracy of solar irradiance forecasts with the ultimate goal of providing better solar radiation scores for reliable forecasting of solar energy production, especially during extreme weather events. Marie-Adèle’s research attempts to refine Météo-France NWP’s operational models such as the AROME model for solar radiation forecasts.

After an extensive characterization of AROME’s performances over a full year of forecasts covering the French territory (with Météo-France pyranometers network and satellite cloud products), Marie-Adèle now focuses her work on direct modifications and improvement of the model and day-ahead forecast. Planned developments focus on the refinement of cloud optical thickness, including improvements in the simulation of cirrus clouds, and a better representation of snow in the radiative code.

You can meet Marie-Adèle at EMS annual meeting in Bonn, 4-9 September 2022 – Session Understanding Weather & Climate Processes – Radiation, clouds and aerosols: From observations to modelling to verification / Models, Parametrizations and their validation (EMS2022-235)

More about Marie-Adèle Magnaldo

On her background
Marie-Adèle graduated in 2020 at Toulouse INP- ENSEEIHT, where she has followed a full-time enginieering program in the department of Fluid Mechanics, Energy and the Environment.

On her research interests
Modelling and numerical simulation, fluid mechanics, energy and environment.

On choosing Smart4RES for her research
At the end of her final year internship, Marie-Adèle was convinced that joining Météo France and working on the Smart4RES project would allow her to contribute to the adaptation to climate change and the energy transition. Linking weather forecasting to the integration of renewable energies is something she is passionate about. The cherry on the cake: a friendly team, sharing the same passion and ideals.

Where she sees herself in 5 years
Marie-Adèle wishes to put her skills at the service of ecology and the environment, either through a career in research to propose and improve solutions, or through a career in scientific mediation to strengthen the link between researchers, politicians and citizens.

On Mentors with an impact
Marie-Adèle is very grateful to her mathematics teachers in high school, who encouraged her to continue her scientific studies, despite what she considered at the time to be a male-dominated sector. In general, women in science and politics inspire her.