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Total Solar Irradiance and Climate Change
By Nasif Nahle
Published on 15 May 2008. ©12 May 2008. Updates: None

The author declares no conflict of interest. This article is a BIOCAB direct submission.

When quoting this article, please copy the next two lines:

Nahle, Nasif. 2007. Total Solar Irradiance and Climate Change. ©07 May 2008 by Biology Cabinet Organization®. Obtained from: http://www.biocab.org/SI_Anom_T_Anom.html. Last reading: (Day) (Month) (Year).

Abstract:

Scientists, writing in the journals Science and Nature, have recently pointed out that the tropospheric temperature is not increasing, but is decreasing. Contrary to the predictions made by scientists linking the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the warming of the atmosphere, the observations clearly show that the link is extremely weak or that it does not exist, and that the hypothesis on the effect of greenhouse gases (GHG) is scientifically incorrect and cannot explain the current state of the global climate. I have written a peer reviewed paper on the impossibility of carbon dioxide causing global warming. I have also written another peer reviewed paper on the correlation of the Solar Irradiance and the Variation of Atmospheric Temperatures (VAT) where I refer to the evidence on the influence of solar activity on tropospheric temperature and the global climate since the medieval period to the present. Further assessments have been carried out by solar physicists to correct and calibrate the 2001 databases on the Intensity of Solar Irradiance (i.e. Lean. (2004), Preminger (2005) and Svalgaard (2007)). In this paper, I compare the calibrated databases of TSI with the new databases of VAT since 1610 AD to date and since 1700 AD to date. The TSI databases were provided by Dr. Judith Lean from NOAA. The VAT databases were provided by Dr. Craig Loehle and UAH.

Introduction:

In 2001, Dr. Judith Lean published a paper in which she produced a database on the Intensity of Solar Irradiance (ISI) based on proxies and the number of observed sunspots. In December 2006 I made a comparison of the correlation between the data taken from the Lean paper and published an article in this on line journal on the Intensity of Solar Irradiance and Medieval Global Warming and the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide. I demonstrated by heat transfer algorithms that carbon dioxide has no influence on the climate, and that solar irradiance definitely drives the Earth's climate. The paper on the Intensity of Solar Irradiance and Medieval Global Warming and the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide shows the sensitivity of tropospheric temperature to changes in solar activity. For this evaluation I have compared Dr. Judith Lean's last reconstructions of TSI with the Variations of Atmospheric Temperatures by Dr. Craig Loehle and databases from the University of Alabama in Hunstville, through charting the available databases on those anomalies.

Charts:
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Graph No. 1- The ISI has been collated with the graph of VAT and atmospheric concentration of CO2. The purple line is Total Solar Irradiance (TSI); the red line is VAT and the blue line is the concentration of atmospheric CO2 (CACO2). From this graph I conclude that there is a close correlation between TSI and VAT, while there is no correlation between VAT and CACO2.

*Click on the image for a better resolution.

I have also charted the database of TSI taken from Dr Lean's work and the database of Dr. Craig Loehle on VAT; however, the evaluation period is only from 1610 AD to 2000 AD. CACO2 was not considered in this chart. Dr. Mike Lockwood recently wrote that Solar Irradiance has decreased over the last two decades while global temperature has increased; however, the VAT peak occurred in 1998 and global temperature has declined perceptively since 1999, exactly as solar irradiance has done. Thus, the databases on global temperatures that were revised by Dr. Lockwood are not correct.

The records also show that temperature is decreasing. It is clear that when solar irradiance goes up, tropospheric temperature also goes up, and that when solar irradiance goes down, tropospheric temperature also goes down. The correlation between TSI from Dr Lean's paper and VAT from Craig Loehle's UAH databases is shown in graph No. 2:

Graph No. 2- The blue line is TSI and the red line is VAT. The dashed red line is the 5th range polynomial trend of VAT and the dashed blue line is the 5th range polynomial trend of TSI. Notice the close correlation between TSI and VAT. For the period 1985 to 2000, TSI declines and VAT also declines (last segment of the plots). Notice also that the highest temperature throughout the last 400 years happened in 1934, not in 1998. (Database of Global Temperatures by courtesy of Dr. Craig Loehle and the University of Alabama in Huntsville).

*Click on the image for a better resolution.
Following the same line of assessment, I plotted the data from Dr. Lean's second database, from which I obtained the anomalies of TSI and compared them with the anomalies of tropospheric temperatures taken from the databases of Dr. Craig Loehle and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The results are quite interesting because the data from Dr. Lean's second database were callibrated without proxies. The callibration was made using only the number of sunspots, and did not consider other proxies used by Lean et al in their first reconstruction of TSI.

The anomalies of solar irradiance were calculated using a standard of 1360.5 W/m^2. Graph No. 3 shows that the Sun is the driver of global temperatures since 1700 AD to date:

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Graph No. 3- The red line is the variation of temperature and the blue line is the anomalies of solar irradiance. The dashed red line is the 6th order polynomial trend of anomalies of SI and the dashed blue line is the 6th order polynomial trend of the variation of temperature. Again, there is a close correlation between the anomalies of solar irradiance and the variations of temperature. For the period 1985 to 2000, the anomalies of SI declined and VAT also declined. (TSI database courtesy of Dr. Judith Lean. Database of Global Temperatures courtesy of Dr. Craig Loehle and the University of Alabama in Huntsville).

*Click on the image for a better resolution.
Evaluation

1. Dr. Judith Lean's reconstruction of the intensity of solar irradiance from sunspots and proxies (background) coincides with Möeberg et al's reconstruction of the variation of atmospheric temperature.

2. Dr. Judith Lean's reconstruction, which includes the number of sunspots and proxies, coincides with Dr. Craig Loehle's reconstruction of the variation of the atmospheric temperature which does not include tree rings proxies, but other proxies such as isotopes, diatoms, foraminifera, etc., and the database of anomalies of temperature published by NSSTC at UAH.

3. The graph on the anomalies of solar irradiance calculated from Dr. Judith Lean's database for the reconstruction of the intensity of solar irradiance, coincides with the reconstruction of the variation of atmospheric temperature made by Dr. Craig Loehle and the binnacle published by NSSTC of the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

4. The graph of the anomalies of the total solar irradiance calculated from the database of Dr. Judith Lean from sunspots coincides with the reconstruction of the variation of the atmospheric temperature made by Dr. Craig Loehle and the binnacle published by NSSTC at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

5. The reconstruction on the intensity of the solar irradiance made by Dr. Dora Preminger et al coincides with the reconstruction of the variation of global temperature made by Dr. Christy of the NSSTC at the University of Alabama in Hunstville.

Conclusion

This evaluation reveals a sensitive response of the Earth's climate to solar irradiance. The reconstructions of Total Solar Irradiance by Dr. Judith Lean in 2001 and in 2004 both coincide with Dr. Moeberg's charts on the variation of atmospheric temperature, with Dr. Loehle's reconstruction and, for the last 108 years, with the reconstruction by NSSTC at UAH. As a result, this assessment could provide enough evidence in support of solar activity being the main driver of atmospheric temperature and global climate of Earth.

Nonetheless, the variations of Solar Irradiance from the databases are not adequate for explaining abrupt climate shifts in the last 11500 years. My evaluation shows that the transitions of solar irradiance are correlated with the Earth’s climate, but it only should be applied to short periods.

It is clear that there are internal mechanisms that involve changes in ocean circulation which cause abrupt climate transitions not related with human activities. The geological records of the past few million years confirm many sudden transitions that summarize long-term climate changes. This sudden transitions mean that the long-term climate changes occur in sudden changes rather than through gradual variations. For example, after a sudden increase, the current tropospheric temperature is decreasing. Hence, I conclude that the sudden warming of the last century is one of those rapid changes that will lead to the Earth towards a larger climate change.

REFERENCES

1. Lean, J. 2004. Solar Irradiance Reconstruction. IGBP PAGES/World Data Center for Paleoclimatology Data Contribution Series # 2004-035. NOAA/NGDC Paleoclimatology Program, Boulder CO, USA.

2. Loehle, C. 2007. A 2000-Year Global Temperature Reconstruction Based on Non-treering Proxies. Energy & Environment 18(7-8): 1049-1058.

3. Monthly reports of temperature from the National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) of the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

4. Preminger, D. G., and S. R. Walton. 2005. A New Model of Total Solar Irradiance Based on Sunspot Areas. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L14109, doi:10.1029/2005GL022839.

5. Kerr, Richard A. GLOBAL WARMING: Mother Nature Cools the Greenhouse, but Hotter Times Still Lie Ahead. Science 2 May 2008: Vol. 320. No. 5876; p. 595. DOI: 10.1126/science.320.5876.595.

6. Keenlyside, N. S., Latif, M., Jungclaus, J., Kornblueh, L. and Roeckner, E. Advancing Decadal-Scale Climate Prediction in the North Atlantic Sector. Nature 453, 84-88 (1 May 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06921; Received 25 June 2007; Accepted 14 March 2008; Corrected on 8 May 2008.

7. Monthly Report of Temperature Deviations MSU2/UAH's Database.

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In the next chart I considered only the period from 1900 to 2007, a period which has produced more discordant opinions on a plausible correlation between solar irradiance and variability of the tropospheric temperature than any other. In this graph, we can see that a correlation exists and that there is little difference between the two polynomial trends. It is possible to say that the difference is only 0.24, which means that the Earth’s climate is extremely sensitive to deviations of the intensity of solar radiation:
Graph No. 4- The red line is the variation of temperature and the blue line is the anomalies of solar irradiance. The dashed red line is the logarithmic trend of anomalies of temperature and the dashed blue line is the logarithmic trend of the solar irradiance anomalies. The correlation between the anomalies of solar irradiance and the variations of the tropospheric temperature is
evidenced in this graph. For the period 1985 to 2000, the anomalies of Solar Irradiance have declined and so, too, have the variations of the tropospheric temperature. (TSI database by courtesy of Dr. Judith Lean. Database of Global Temperatures by courtesy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville).

*Click on the image for a better resolution.
Several authors have calibrated databases on sunspot numbers; for example, Dr. Dora Preminger. The following chart is a comparison between the anomalies of Solar Irradiance (SI) calculated from the reconstruction of Dr. Preminger and the deviations of the Tropospheric Temperature (TT) from the standard for the period 1875-2007.

I included in the graph the sixth order polynomial trend for both databases, the anomalies of solar irradiance and the deviation of the tropospheric temperature:

Graph No. 5- The red line is the variation of TT and the blue line is the anomalies of SI. The dashed red line is the polynomial trend of the variation of TT and the dashed blue line is the polynomial trend of the SI anomalies. The correlation between the anomalies of SI and the variations of TT is evidenced in this graph. For the period 1875 to 2007, the anomalies of SI have declined and the variations of TT have also declined. (Preminger's TSI database by courtesy of Dr. Leif Svalgaard. Database of Global Temperatures by courtesy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville).

*Click on the image for a better resolution.
We can see in this graph, plotted from Dr Preminger's calibrated database of Total Solar Irradiance and the UAH calibrated variation of the tropospheric temperature, that the climate of Earth depends directly on the intensity of solar irradiance.

All living organisms on Earth -and perhaps, also, on other cosmic bodies- depend on the energy of a star. The Sun is the unique source of energy for all organisms living on our planet. 1/50000000 part of the total incoming energy from the Sun hits the outermost external layer of the terrestrial atmosphere. As the solar radiation penetrates the atmosphere, it is scattered, reflected and absorbed by the constituents of the atmosphere. Only 50% of the energy that hits the outermost external layer of the atmosphere reaches the surface of Earth; however, only 1% of the energy is used by living organisms. Once the energy hits the surface, a percentage is absorbed by land and oceans and another percentage is reflected back towards outer space. Some of the absorbed energy is retained by the atmosphere, especially by water vapor, and is maintained for some time until it is emitted to cold space.

Thus, it is particularly important to study the anomalies of solar irradiance because any change in incoming solar energy affects not only the climate, but also all of life on Earth.