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Wed Jan 9, 2013, 07:27 AM

Solar Variability and Terrestrial Climate

Jan. 8, 2013: In the galactic scheme of things, the Sun is a remarkably constant star. While some stars exhibit dramatic pulsations, wildly yo-yoing in size and brightness, and sometimes even exploding, the luminosity of our own sun varies a measly 0.1% over the course of the 11-year solar cycle.

There is, however, a dawning realization among researchers that even these apparently tiny variations can have a significant effect on terrestrial climate. A new report issued by the National Research Council (NRC), "The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth's Climate," lays out some of the surprisingly complex ways that solar activity can make itself felt on our planet.

Understanding the sun-climate connection requires a breadth of expertise in fields such as plasma physics, solar activity, atmospheric chemistry and fluid dynamics, energetic particle physics, and even terrestrial history. No single researcher has the full range of knowledge required to solve the problem. To make progress, the NRC had to assemble dozens of experts from many fields at a single workshop. The report summarizes their combined efforts to frame the problem in a truly multi-disciplinary context.

One of the participants, Greg Kopp of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, pointed out that while the variations in luminosity over the 11-year solar cycle amount to only a tenth of a percent of the sun's total output, such a small fraction is still important. "Even typical short term variations of 0.1% in incident irradiance exceed all other energy sources (such as natural radioactivity in Earth's core) combined," he says.

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/08jan_sunclimate/

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Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
Reply Solar Variability and Terrestrial Climate (Original post)
BridgeTheGap Jan 2013 OP
pugetres Jan 2013 #1
BridgeTheGap Jan 2013 #2
caraher Jan 2013 #3
AverageJoe90 Jan 2013 #4

Response to BridgeTheGap (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:20 AM

1. Thanks for sharing this link on this site.

I figured that this sort of paper would be met with hands over eyes and fingers in ears. Such a nice surprise.

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Response to pugetres (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:18 AM

2. Not too many people on this site would want to take on NASA. n/t

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Response to pugetres (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:13 PM

3. Why would you figure that?

It doesn't say, for instance, that recent warming is not human-caused but driven by changes in solar irradiance. What it does say is that...

In recent years, researchers have considered the possibility that the sun plays a role in global warming. After all, the sun is the main source of heat for our planet. The NRC report suggests, however, that the influence of solar variability is more regional than global.

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Response to BridgeTheGap (Original post)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 09:37 AM

4. Interesting article. Thanks for posting. n/t

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