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Models of Spectral Irradiance Variability:
Origins in the solar atmosphere and impacts on Earth’s atmosphere


Maryland Dock at sunset

The 2012 Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) Science Meeting examines modeling efforts to understand solar spectral irradiance (SSI) variability, in terms of both its origins in the solar atmosphere and its impact on Earth’s climate and atmosphere. In solar physics, advancements in radiative transfer, surface feature identification, dynamics and how observations of solar magnetic fields and irradiance all lead to an improved understanding of the mechanisms of irradiance change. Earth-atmospheric general circulation models (GCM) incorporating sophisticated codes for chemistry, radiation, dynamics, and feedback mechanisms associated with clouds, aerosols, and ocean processes are able to address the role of SSI variability in climate. In both cases, comparisons with observations lead to a deeper understanding of the dynamic solar atmosphere and our complex Earth climate system.

Sessions are organized around the following key science questions:

  • Development of three dimensional models of the solar atmosphere are rapidly progressing; how will these models further our understanding of the radiative properties of the solar atmosphere relative to static one dimensional models?
  • Do small scale processes on the Sun scale to give irradiance variability, and do they give a reasonable explanation of changes that can occur on decadal or centennial scales that relate to climate change?
  • Does incorporating SSI data into GCM’s improve the prediction skills of these models, and do different models produce similar results with the same solar input?
  • For both solar models and GCM’s how well do model predictions agree with observations over decadal time scales? In the case of solar physics, long-standing irradiance observations as well as findings from solar image analysis and magnetograms can be employed. Likewise, Earth observing satellites and ground-based observations provide valuable data on the distribution of fundamental atmospheric components such as temperature, trace species, and wind fields.

To address these critical questions, four sessions are planned:

  • Modeling of the solar atmosphere with emphasis on spectral irradiance
  • Modeling of the solar influence on Earth climate
  • Observations of solar spectral irradiance variability
  • Observations of the solar influence on Earth climate

This meeting is sponsored by the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) Science Team at the University of Colorado.  Since its launch in January 2003, SORCE has been measuring total solar irradiance (TSI) and solar spectral irradiance (SSI), which are part of NASA Earth Observing System’s 24 key observables.  SORCE Meetings bring together interested members of the broad science community to discuss current understanding of solar variability and the Sun's influence on climate and global change.  

The format for this workshop consists of invited and contributed presentations. We encourage your participation and hope that you will share this announcement with colleagues.