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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Mar 6;104(10):3713-8. Epub 2007 Mar 5.

Solar influence on climate during the past millennium: results from transient simulations with the NCAR Climate System Model.

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  • 1Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, 1850 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder, CO 80307-3000, USA.

Abstract

The potential role of solar variations in modulating recent climate has been debated for many decades and recent papers suggest that solar forcing may be less than previously believed. Because solar variability before the satellite period must be scaled from proxy data, large uncertainty exists about phase and magnitude of the forcing. We used a coupled climate system model to determine whether proxy-based irradiance series are capable of inducing climatic variations that resemble variations found in climate reconstructions, and if part of the previously estimated large range of past solar irradiance changes could be excluded. Transient simulations, covering the published range of solar irradiance estimates, were integrated from 850 AD to the present. Solar forcing as well as volcanic and anthropogenic forcing are detectable in the model results despite internal variability. The resulting climates are generally consistent with temperature reconstructions. Smaller, rather than larger, long-term trends in solar irradiance appear more plausible and produced modeled climates in better agreement with the range of Northern Hemisphere temperature proxy records both with respect to phase and magnitude. Despite the direct response of the model to solar forcing, even large solar irradiance change combined with realistic volcanic forcing over past centuries could not explain the late 20th century warming without inclusion of greenhouse gas forcing. Although solar and volcanic effects appear to dominate most of the slow climate variations within the past thousand years, the impacts of greenhouse gases have dominated since the second half of the last century.

PMID:
17360418
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1810336
Free PMC Article
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