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The Impact of the Revised Sunspot Record on Solar Irradiance Reconstructions  

Greg Kopp   Submitted: 2016-01-21 14:10

Reliable historical records of total solar irradiance (TSI) are needed for climate change attribution and research to assess the extent to which long-term variations in the Sun's radiant energy incident on the Earth may exacerbate (or mitigate) the more dominant warming in recent centuries due to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases. We investigate potential impacts of the new Sunspot Index and Long-term Solar Observations (SILSO) sunspot-number time series on model reconstructions of TSI. In contemporary TSI records, variations on time scales longer than about a day are dominated by the opposing effects of sunspot darkening and facular brightening. These two surface magnetic features, retrieved either from direct observations or from solar activity proxies, are combined in TSI models to reproduce the current TSI observational record. Indices that manifest solar-surface magnetic activity, in particular the sunspot-number record, then enable the reconstruction of historical TSI. Revisions to the sunspot-number record therefore affect the magnitude and temporal structure of TSI variability on centennial time scales according to the model reconstruction methodologies. We estimate the effects of the new SILSO record on two widely used TSI reconstructions, namely the NRLTSI2 and the SATIRE models. We find that the SILSO record has little effect on either model after 1885 but leads to greater amplitude solar-cycle fluctuations in TSI reconstructions prior, suggesting many 18th and 19th century cycles could be similar in amplitude to those of the current Modern Maximum. TSI records based on the revised sunspot data do not suggest a significant change in Maunder Minimum TSI values, and comparing that era to the present we find only very small potential differences in estimated solar contributions to climate with this new sunspot record.

Authors: G. Kopp, N. Krivova, J. Lean, and C.J. Wu
Projects: None

Publication Status: Solar Physics (accepted Jan. 2016)
Last Modified: 2016-01-26 21:32
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The Impact of the Revised Sunspot Record on Solar Irradiance Reconstructions

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