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Manmade Climate Change Deniers Have Answer About Solar Radiation's Role in Rising Temperatures

Aug 30, 2016 05:43 AM EDT
Model of the sun, "Sternstunden" exhibition at the Gasometer Oberhausen.
(Photo : Photo: Alfred Hutter - Own Work)

Questions about the sun's role in climate change have been around almost as long as the term "climate change," researchers finally have some answers about the role that solar radiation plays in the rising temperatures on Earth's surface.

More than 100 specialists in fields relating to climate change worked together to understand the sun's potential role in the global warming phenomenon. They found that variation in solar radiation can affect climate and temperature regionally, but solar radiation is not linked to a rise in temperatures globally.

The specialists involved in these studies were part of TOSCA, a multidisciplinary international network brought together for the sole purpose of studying the sun's role in climate change. European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) funded TOSCA - the results of the studies were published in a comprehensive publication Earth's climate response to a changing sun.

Scientists have known that levels of radiation from the sun vary since the 1980's. This knowledge paved the way for people to believe that global warming was out of our hands - their actions didn't need to change because humanity wasn't making an impact on global climate.

Prior to TOSCA's comprehensive measures, studies of solar variability only looked at variations in the sun's total radiation.

"It's like measuring the wealth of a country only by looking at its GDP," professor at University of Orleans Dr. Thierry Dudok de Wit said in a release.

"Our biggest achievement was changing the way we interacted, by looking at Earth-solar connections as a whole, not individually."

Though UV radiation accounts for less than 10 percent of solar radiation, its variations had an outsized impact on regional climate compared to other types of solar radiation. Solar wind affects the Earth's electric field and was also found to have implications in the Earth's climate.

Continued studies will be done with more complete models, thanks to information garnered from this project.

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