Space Science Reviews

, Volume 94, Issue 1–2, pp 199–214 | Cite as

The Effect of Solar UV Irradiance Variations on the Earth's Atmosphere

  • Alice Larkin
  • Joanna D. Haigh
  • Samy Djavidnia


The response of the lower and middle atmosphere to variations in solar irradiance typical of those observed to take place over the 11-year activity cycle has been investigated. The effects on radiative heating rates of changing total solar irradiance, solar spectral irradiance and two different assumptions concerning stratospheric ozone have been studied with a radiative transfer code. The response in the stratosphere depends on the changes specified in the ozone distribution which is not well known. A general circulation model (GCM) of the atmosphere up to 0.1 mbar (about 65 km) has been used to study the impacts of these changes on the thermodynamical structure. The results in the troposphere are very similar to those reported by Haigh99 using a quite different GCM. In the middle atmosphere the model is able to reproduce quite well the observed seasonal evolution of temperature and wind anomalies. Calculations of radiative forcing due to solar variation are presented. These show that the thermal infrared component of the forcing, due to warming of the stratosphere, is important but suggest a near balance between the longwave and shortwave effects of the increased ozone so that ozone change may not be important for net radiative forcing. However, the structure of the ozone change does affect the detailed temperature response and the spectral composition of the radiation entering the troposphere.


Ozone General Circulation Model Solar Irradiance Wind Anomaly Total Solar Irradiance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Cullen, M. J. P.: 1993, ‘The unified forecast/climate model’, Meteorol. Mag. 122, 81–94.Google Scholar
  2. Edwards, J. M., and Slingo, A.: 1996, ‘Studies with a flexible new radiation code. I. Choosing a configuration for a large-scale model’, Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 122, 689–719.Google Scholar
  3. Fröhlich, C., and Lean, J.: 1998, ‘The Sun's total irradiance: Cycles, trends and related climate change uncertainties since 1976’, Geophys. Res. Lett. 25, 4377–4380.Google Scholar
  4. Haigh, J.D.: 1994, ‘The role of stratospheric ozone in modulating the solar radiative forcing of climate’, Nature 370, 544–546.Google Scholar
  5. Haigh, J. D.: 1996, ‘The impact of solar variability on climate’, Science 272, 981–984.Google Scholar
  6. Haigh, J. D.: 1999, ‘A GCM study of climate change in response to the 11-year solar cycle’, Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 125, 871–892.Google Scholar
  7. Hansen, J., Sato, M., and Ruedy, R.: 1997, ‘Radiative forcing and climate response’, J. Geophys. Res. 102, 6831–6864.Google Scholar
  8. Hood, L. L., Jirikowic, J. L., and McCormack, J. P.: 1993, ‘Quasi-decadal variability of the stratosphere: influence of long-term solar ultraviolet variations’, J. Atmos. Sci. 50, 3941–3958.Google Scholar
  9. Hoyt, D.V., and Schatten, K.H.: 1998, ‘Group Sunspot Numbers: A new solar activity reconstruction’, Solar Phys. 181, 491–512.Google Scholar
  10. Kodera, K.: 1995, ‘On the origin and nature of the interannual variability of the winter stratospheric circulation in the northern hemisphere’, J. Geophys. Res. 100, 14077–14087.Google Scholar
  11. Kodera, K., Chiba, M., and Shibata, K.: 1991, ‘A general circulation model study of the solar and QBO modulation of the stratospheric circulation during the northern hemisphere winter’ Geophys. Res. Lett. 18, 1209–1212.Google Scholar
  12. Lean, J., and Rind, D.: 1998, ‘Climate forcing by changing solar radiation’ J. Climate 11, 3069–3094.Google Scholar
  13. Lean, J., Beer, J., and Bradley, R. S.: 1995, ‘Reconstruction of solar irradiance since 1610: Implications for climate change’, Geophys. Res. Lett. 22, 3195–3198.Google Scholar
  14. McCormack, J. P., and Hood, L.L.: 1996, ‘Apparent solar-cycle variations of upper stratospheric ozone and temperature: latitude and seasonal dependencies’, J. Geophys. Res. 101, 20933–20944.Google Scholar
  15. Morcrette, J.-J.: 1991, ‘Radiation and cloud radiative properties in the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts Forecasting System’, J. Geophys. Res. 96, 9121–9131.Google Scholar
  16. Myhre, G., Stordal, F., Rognerud, B., and Isaksen, I. S.A.: 1998, ‘Radiative forcing due to stratospheric ozone’ in Atmospheric Ozone: Proc. of the XVIII Quadrennial Ozone Symposium, Eds. Bojkov, R. D. and Visconti, G., pp. 813–816.Google Scholar
  17. Rind D., and Balachandran, N.K.: 1995, ‘Modelling the Effects of UV variability and the QBO on the Troposphere-Stratosphere Systems. Part II: The troposphere’, J. Climate 8, 2080–2095.Google Scholar
  18. Shindell, D., Rind, D., Balachandran, N., Lean, J., and Lonergan, J.: 1999, ‘Solar cycle variability, ozone and climate’ Science 284, 305–308.Google Scholar
  19. Shine, K. P.: 2000, Space Sci. Rev., this volume.Google Scholar
  20. Solanki, S.K., and Unruh, Y. C.: 1998, ‘A model of the wavelength dependence of solar irradiance variations’, Astron. and Astrophys. 329, 747–753.Google Scholar
  21. van Loon, H., and Labitzke, K.: 2000, Space Sci. Rev., this volume.Google Scholar
  22. Wuebbles, D. J., Wei, C.-F., and Patten, K.O.: 1998, ‘Effects on stratospheric ozone and temperature during the Maunder Minimum’, Geophys. Res. Lett. 25, 523–526.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alice Larkin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joanna D. Haigh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Samy Djavidnia
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Blackett LaboratoryUK
  2. 2.Technology and MedicineImperial College of ScienceLondonUK

Personalised recommendations