Constraints on Variability of Brightness and Surface Magnetism on Time Scales of Decades to Centuries in the Sun and Sun-Like Stars : A Source of Potential Terrestrial Climate Variability
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
- These four points summarize our work to date. (1) Conciliation of solar and stellar photometric variability. Previous research by us and colleagues suggested that the Sun might at present be showing unusually low photometric variability compared to other sun-like stars. Those early results would question the suitability of the technique of using sun-like stars as proxies for solar irradiance change on time scales of decades to centuries. However, our results indicate the contrary: the Sun's observed short-term (seasonal) and longterm (year-to-year) brightness variations closely agree with observed brightness variations in stars of similar mass and age. (2) We have demonstrated an inverse correlation between the global temperature of the terrestrial lower troposphere, inferred from the NASA Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) radiometers, and the total area of the Sun covered by coronal holes from January 1979 to present (up to May 2000). Variable fluxes of either solar charged particles or cosmic rays, or both, may influence the terrestrial tropospheric temperature. The geographical pattern of the correlation is consistent with our interpretation of an extra-terrestrial charged particle forcing. (3) Possible climate mechanism amplifying the impact of solar ultraviolet irradiance variations. The key points of our proposed climate hypersensitivity mechanism are: (a) The Sun is more variable in the UV (ultraviolet) than in the visible. However, the increased UV irradiance is mainly absorbed in the lower stratosphere/upper troposphere rather than at the surface. (b) Absorption in the stratosphere raises the temperature moderately around the vicinity of the tropopause, and tends to stabilize the atmosphere against vertical convective/diffusive transport, thus decreasing the flux of heat and moisture carried upward from surface. (c) The decrease in the upward convection of heat and moisture tends to raise the surface temperature because a drier upper atmosphere becomes less cloudy, which in turn allows more solar radiation to reach the Earth's surface. (4) Natural variability in an ocean-atmosphere climate model. We use a 14-region, 6-layer, global thermo-hydrodynamic ocean-atmosphere model to study natural climate variability. All the numerical experiments were performed with no change in the prescribed external boundary conditions (except for the seasonal cycle of the Sun's tilt angle). Therefore, the observed inter-annual variability is of an internal kind. The model results are helpful toward the understanding of the role of nonlinearity in climate change. We have demonstrated a range of possible climate behaviors using our newly developed ocean-atmosphere model. These include climate configurations with no interannual variability, with multi-year periodicities, with continuous chaos, or with chaotically occuring transitions between two discrete substrates. These possible modes of climate behavior are all possible for the real climate, as well as the model. We have shown that small temporary climate influences can trigger shifts both in the mean climate, and among these different types of behavior. Such shifts are not only theoretically plausible, as shown here and elsewhere; they are omnipresent in the climate record on time scales from several years to the age of the Earth. This has two apparently opposite implications for the possibility of anthropogenic global warming. First, any warming which might occur as a result of human influence would be only a fraction of the small-to-large unpredictable natural changes and changes which result from other external causes. On the other hand, small temporary influences such as human influence do have the potential of causing large permanent shifts in mean climate and interannual variability.
- Document ID: 20010111482.
- No Copyright.
View MARC record | catkey: 15638921