Space Science Reviews

, Volume 125, Issue 1, pp 187–197

On the Response of the Climate System to Solar Forcing

Introductory Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11214-006-9056-3

Cite this article as:
Bengtsson, L. Space Sci Rev (2006) 125: 187. doi:10.1007/s11214-006-9056-3


The climate response to changes in radiative forcing depends crucially on climate feedback processes, with the consequence that solar and greenhouse gas forcing have both similar response patterns in the troposphere. This circumstance complicates significantly the attribution of the causes of climate change. Additionally, the climate system displays a high level of unforced intrinsic variability, and significant variations in the climate of many parts of the world are due to internal processes. Such internal modes contribute significantly to the variability of climate system on various time scales, and thus compete with external forcing in explaining the origin of past climate extremes. This highlights the need for independent observations of solar forcing including long-term consistent observational records of the total and spectrally resolved solar irradiance. The stratospheric response to solar forcing is different from its response to greenhouse gas forcing, thus suggesting that stratospheric observations could offer the best target for the identification of the specific influence of solar forcing on climate.


solar forcingclimate changeclimate variability

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für MeteorologieHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Environmental System Science CenterUniversity of ReadingReadingUK