The Sun provides nearly all the energy for the Earth’s climate system. Even small changes in the Sun’s energy output can have large effects on climate, since the energy received from the Sun is so much greater than all other climate energy sources combined. Fortunately, the Sun is extremely stable at the present; which makes it very difficult to measure changes in its output over long periods of time, such as are needed for climate records.
How variable is the Sun? And how much does it affect the Earth’s climate compared to other natural effects or to human-caused influences? How do we measure it to the needed levels of accuracy?
A new spacecraft experiment to be launched later this year will be continuing the existing measurement record of the Sun’s energy output. This mission was done much as others should be: It was assembled quickly and relatively inexpensively, staying on schedule and budget thanks to an enthusiastic team of professionals and students working together.
We will discuss what we know about the Sun and its influences on Earth’s climate, and describe the current and planned measurements of this important solar climate data record.
Watch the Public Lecture: