Space Science Reviews

, Volume 125, Issue 1, pp 227-235

Regional Response of the Climate System to Solar Forcing: The Role of the Ocean

  • H. GoosseAffiliated withInstitut d’Astronomie et de Géophysique G. Lemaître, Université Catholique de Louvain Email author 
  • , H. RenssenAffiliated withFaculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Vrije Universiteit

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A coupled climate model is used to explore the regional response of the climate system to solar forcing, with emphasis on the role of the ocean. It is shown that both the transient and the equilibrium response of surface temperature to changes in total solar irradiation is smaller over ocean than over land because of the ocean’s large heat capacity and the feedback involving evaporation. Furthermore, the advection of temperature anomalies and changes in ocean currents have an impact on the timing and the geographical distribution of the response. Nevertheless, at regional scales, the response to the forcing is embedded within the large internal variability of the system making the detection and analysis of the forced response difficult. Furthermore, this forced response could imply both changes in the mean state of the system as well as in its variability.


climate variability solar forcing ocean dynamics evaporation thermal intertia