Climate Dynamics

, Volume 13, Issue 11, pp 757-767

First online:

Simulation of the influence of solar radiation variations on the global climate with an ocean-atmosphere general circulation model

  • U. CubaschAffiliated withDeutsches Klimarechenzentrum GmbH, Bundesstr. 55, D-20146 Hamburg, Germany
  • , R. VossAffiliated withDeutsches Klimarechenzentrum GmbH, Bundesstr. 55, D-20146 Hamburg, Germany
  • , G. C. HegerlAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Bundesstr. 55, D-20146 Hamburg, Germany
  • , J. WaszkewitzAffiliated withDeutsches Klimarechenzentrum GmbH, Bundesstr. 55, D-20146 Hamburg, Germany
  • , T. J. CrowleyAffiliated withDept. of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, College Station TX 77843, USA

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 Two simulations with a global coupled ocean-atmosphere circulation model have been carried out to study the potential impact of solar variability on climate. The Hoyt and Schatten estimate of solar variability from 1700 to 1992 has been used to force the model. Results indicate that the near-surface temperature simulated by the model is dominated by the long periodic solar fluctuations (Gleissberg cycle), with global mean temperatures varying by about 0.5 K. Further results indicate that solar variability and an increase in greenhouse gases both induce to a first approximation a comparable pattern of surface temperature change, i.e., an increase of the land-sea contrast. However, the solar-induced warming pattern in annual means and summer is more centered over the subtropics, compared to a more uniform warming associated with the increase in greenhouse gases. The observed temperature rise over the most recent 30 and 100 years is larger than the trend in the solar forcing simulation during the same period, indicating a strong likelihood that, if the model forcing and response is realistic, other factors have contributed to the observed warming. Since the pattern of the recent observed warming agrees better with the greenhouse warming pattern than with the solar variability response, it is likely that one of these factors is the increase of the atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration.