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The Volt in Winter

Improved measurements of sun to advance understanding of climate change

Scientists have taken a major step toward accurately determining the amount of energy that the sun provides to Earth, and how variations in that energy may contribute to climate change. In a new study of laboratory and satellite data, researchers report a lower value of that energy, known as total solar irradiance (TSI), than previously measured and demonstrate that the satellite instrument that made the measurement—which has a new optical design and was calibrated in a new way—has significantly improved the accuracy and consistency of such measurements.

The most accurate value of total solar irradiance during the 2008 solar minimum period is 1360.8 ± 0.5 W m-2 according to measurements from the Total Irradiance Monitor (TIM) on NASA’s Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) and a series of new radiometric laboratory tests. This value is significantly lower than the canonical value of 1365.4 ± 1.3 W m-2 established in the 1990s, which energy balance calculations and climate models currently use. Scattered light is a primary cause of the higher irradiance values measured by the earlier generation of solar radiometers in which the precision aperture defining the measured solar beam is located behind a larger, view-limiting aperture. In the TIM, the opposite order of these apertures precludes this spurious signal by limiting the light entering the instrument.

—Kopp and Lean

The new findings give confidence, the researchers say, that other, newer satellites expected to launch starting early this year will measure total solar irradiance with adequate repeatability—and with little enough uncertainty—to help resolve the long-standing question of how significant a contributor solar fluctuations are to the rising average global temperature of the planet.

Improved accuracies and stabilities in the long-term total solar irradiance record mean improved estimates of the sun’s influence on Earth’s climate.

—Greg Kopp of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) of the University of Colorado Boulder

Kopp, who led the study, and Judith Lean of the Naval Research Laboratory, in Washington, DC, published their findings in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

The new work will help advance scientists’ ability to understand the contribution of natural versus anthropogenic causes of climate change, the scientists said. The research improves the accuracy of the continuous, 32-year record of total solar irradiance, or TSI. Energy from the sun is the primary energy input driving Earth’s climate.

The new, lower TSI value was measured by the LASP-built Total Irradiance Monitor (TIM) instrument on the NASA Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) spacecraft. Tests at a new calibration facility at LASP verify the lower TSI value. The ground-based calibration facility enables scientists to validate their instruments under on-orbit conditions against a reference standard calibrated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Before the development of the calibration facility, solar irradiance instruments would frequently return different measurements from each other, depending on their calibration. To maintain a long-term record of the sun’s output through time, scientists had to rely on overlapping measurements that allowed them to intercalibrate among instruments.

We are eager to see how this lower irradiance value affects global climate models, which use various parameters to reproduce current climate: incoming solar radiation is a decisive factor. An improved and extended solar data record will make it easier for us to understand how fluctuations in the sun’s energy output over time affect temperatures, and how Earth's climate responds to radiative forcing.

—Judith Lean

Lean’s model, which is now adjusted to the new lower absolute TSI values, reproduces with high fidelity the TSI variations that TIM observes and indicates that solar irradiance levels during the recent prolonged solar minimum period were likely comparable to levels in past solar minima. Using this model, Lean estimates that solar variability produces about 0.1 degree Celsius (0.18 degree Fahrenheit) global warming during the 11-year solar cycle, but is likely not the main cause of global warming in the past three decades.

Resources

Greg Kopp and Judith L. Lean (2011) A new, lower value of total solar irradiance: Evidence and climate significance. Geo. Res. Lett. Vol 38, L01706 doi: 10.1029/2010GL045777

Comments

HarveyD

Interesting!

The Goracle

.

"...sun provides to Earth, and how variations in that energy may contribute to climate change."

How DARE anyone publish this kind of tripe! It is settled "science" that driving SUVs and being against higher taxes and more government control of our lives are the ONLY casuses of Global Warming® (since rebranded Climate Change® since rebranded CO2 Pollution®).

All funding for this phony research that may disprove our settled "science" must be stopped NOW.

.

Reel$$

Improved accuracies and stabilities in the long-term total solar irradiance* record mean improved estimates of the sun’s influence on Earth’s climate.

Fine. But anything coming from University Colorado is pretty well tainted these days. Better leave this to an impartial non-grant recipient.

*NOTE: Dictionaries suggest that "radiance" is the proper word here. There is no term irradiance.

Arnold

Someone is out from under their rock.

I think the correct term is 'solation'.

But irradiance or irradiation for the vebally and scientiffically challenged amongst us is perfectly acceptable.( did I mention I can't fly my spellchecker?)

Arnold

Not to be confused with insolance, the acronyms TSI; TIM; SOURCE; etc... justify the use of shelving of the correct term as applied to climate science / Solar PV etc solation:
That part of the suns output that falls ont earth has a counterpart being the reflected or rejected parts of the suns output that would otherwise be absorbed to earth.

This solation is required to be balance by heat loss (****?) to the dark places at -280****o C or kelvin or whatever takes your fancy in order for our planet to remain at a steady temperature.

For the benefit of the previous posters, it is widely if not excusively held as true that the recent high concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases and precursor elements and compounds derived from human activity are adding to a potentially catastrophic energy imbalance -AGW_. "the Earth has a fever"

But I guess we all know that just some prefer to come out from under their rock throw some dung and scurry back to where people can forget they exist for a few more peacfull hours or days - even months gosh is it already that long between visitations.

Its a good thing that our Alien friends are doing loger abductions and brain/ anal probings on these characters.

Herm

"That part of the suns output that falls on earth has a counterpart being the reflected or rejected parts of the suns output that would otherwise be absorbed to earth."

This is the next big thing that needs to be nailed down with real data.. and then we will know if AGW believers are full of hot air or not..

Basically it needs satellites staring down constantly at the nightime portion of the world..

ai_vin

There is no term "irradiance?"

Well it wasn't in my spellchecker either but I just checked wikipedia and they have it, and then I pulled out my Websters dictionary and found it there too. A little more research tells me the word "irradiance" was first used in 1599 so we can't say it's new either.

ai_vin

This is the next big thing that needs to be nailed down with real data.. and then we will know if AGW believers are full of hot air or not..

Basically it needs satellites staring down constantly at the nightime portion of the world..

In 1970, NASA launched the IRIS satellite that measured infrared spectra between 400 cm-1 to 1600 cm-1. In 1996, the Japanese Space Agency launched the IMG satellite which recorded similar observations. Both sets of data were compared to discern any changes in outgoing radiation over the 26 year period (Harries 2001).

"What they found was a drop in outgoing radiation at the wavelength bands that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) absorb energy. The change in outgoing radiation is consistent with theoretical expectations. Thus the paper found "direct experimental evidence for a significant increase in the Earth's greenhouse effect".

This result has been confirmed by subsequent papers using more recent satellite data. The 1970 and 1997 spectra were compared with additional satellite data from the NASA AIRS satellite launched in 2003 (Griggs 2004). This analysis was extended to 2006 using data from the AURA satellite launched in 2004 (Chen 2007). Both papers found the observed differences in CO2 bands matching the expected changes from rising carbon dioxide levels. Thus we have empirical evidence that increased CO2 is causing an enhanced greenhouse effect."
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6826/abs/410355a0.html
http://spiedigitallibrary.org/proceedings/resource/2/psisdg/5543/1/164_1?isAuthorized=no
http://www.eumetsat.int/Home/Main/Publications/Conference_and_Workshop_Proceedings/groups/cps/documents/document/pdf_conf_p50_s9_01_harries_v.pdf

ai_vin

BTW, in addition to having satellite data showing "a drop in outgoing radiation at the wavelength bands that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) absorb energy" they also have surface station data showing an increase in these same wavelengths being returned to the surface by the atmosphere.

Reel$$

Indeed. What would we do without the authoritative resource "wiki...?"

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_do_aliens_use_anal_probes

AND just when we thought it was safe to cry "Wolf!"

http://www.onearth.org/blog/supreme-court-rejects-global-warming-hurricane-katrina-case

Mannstein

It's about time that this measurement be done and factored into the climate change equation. In fact this piece of data should have been the first to be measured accurately. It is after all the primary heat source for the planet.

I'm with the Goracle on this one.

It's interesting that all HarveyD can comment is Iteresting!

ai_vin

@Reel
Does that mean you also have a problem with the Websters dictionary?

@Mannstein
Oh it was done, and accurately enough to work with, now it's just being done in a way that "has significantly improved the accuracy and consistency of such measurements."

That's the thing about science, they're ALWAYS looking for ways to improved the accuracy and consistency of their data: Heck, they're still testing the theory of gravity. And that's where the Goracle got it wrong, science[any science] is never "settled" - nor should it ever be. Science gets its strength from questioning itself. "Heck, they're still testing the theory of gravity."

ai_vin

Oh. and about this; http://www.onearth.org/blog/supreme-court-rejects-global-warming-hurricane-katrina-case

I'm guessing you only read the title before you posted that. There are nuances about court cases that need to be looked at in detail, some of which even come through in that article.

I personal believe the supreme court was right in rejecting this case: People who knowingly use a product should not blame someone else for selling it to them.

Arnold

Ai vin's right we are all guilty as sin on this site.
And I can say for sure I at least am an utter b-stard.

Reel$$

For others here, the Supreme Court did properly reject a Global Warming case brought by Missisissippi homeowners against a bunch of oil companies for creating GHGs that contributed to hurricane Katrina's "destructive force."

Doh... Sometimes these sims are beyond ignorance! Though this rejection was based on legal technicalities - the case is so fraught with stupidity as to be unbelievable on ANY level! That's S-T-U-P-I-D.

Even IF these oilcos were proved to emit fully half all man made GHG, there is ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE it has or could cause or even increase a hurricane! Have we not had hurricanes for the last 2.5 BILLION years or so?? Long before AGW was a zit on the nose of Jim Hanson - there was climate change, and climate cooling/warming cycles. All happening without man's puny 200 years of fossil fuel consumption.

And should this case ever be heard in a court with real human beings in it - the Judge might ask why it is the plaintiffs have not sued Mother Earth herself for spewing ten times the CO2 and toxic pollutants via thousands of belching volcanoes?? Why??

Under international law one cannot sue for Force Majure - precisely because nature, storms, floods, etc. are considered to be "acts of God." You don't even need God to accept that natural variation is the sole contributor to climate and has been for billions of years. Here's why:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eScDfYzMEEw

G'Bless you George!

ai_vin

All happening without man's puny 200 years of fossil fuel consumption.

You can't say our consumption has been puny. It took nature 200,000,000 years to bury what we've consumed in just 200.

Actually nature releases more than 20 times the CO2 we do but nature also has processes that absorb not only all of its CO2, which has kept atmospheric CO2 levels quite steady for thousands of years, but still manages to absorb 40% of what we release.
http://skepticalscience.com/human-co2-smaller-than-natural-emissions.htm


However that's nature as a whole, volcanoes actually only emit a 100th of what we do.
http://skepticalscience.com/volcanoes-and-global-warming.htm


"Volcanoes emit CO2 both on land and underwater. Underwater volcanoes emit between 66 to 97 million tonnes of CO2 per year. However, this is balanced by the carbon sink provided by newly formed ocean floor lava. Consequently, underwater volcanoes have little effect on atmospheric CO2 levels. The greater contribution comes from subaerial volcanoes (subaerial means "under the air", refering to land volcanoes). Subaerial volcanoes are estimated to emit 242 million tonnes of CO2 per year (Morner 2002).

In contrast, humans are currently emiting around 29 billion tonnes of CO2 per year (EIA). Human CO2 emissions are over 100 times greater than volcanic CO2 emissions. This is apparent when comparing atmospheric CO2 levels to volcanic activity since 1960. Even strong volcanic eruptions such as Pinatubo have little discernable impact on CO2 levels. In fact, the rate of change of CO2 levels actually drops slightly after a volcanic eruption, possibly due to the cooling effect of aerosols."
http://www.skepticalscience.com/volcanoes-and-global-warming-intermediate.htm

Reel$$

As usual the last AGW defendant ai_ tries desperately to dismiss the utter logic that George Carlin makes so plain:

Just one Icelandic volcano is currently producing up to 300k metric tons of CO2 per day:

http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1852153/volcano_co2_output_could_be_150300000_tons_daily/

There are currently 600+ active land volcanoes on Earth. 600*200=120 million tons PER DAY. 120*365=4.38E10

Mother nature produces far more CO2 in a year than man could dream of. Nice try ai...

ai_vin

I love it when you provide me with the info needed to debunk you; http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1852153/volcano_co2_output_could_be_150300000_tons_daily/

"Experts said on Monday that the volcano in Iceland is emitting 150,000 to 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per day" and "On a country-by-country basis, the emissions from the volcano would be placed 47th to 75th in the world table of emitters if based on a yearlong output" but that's only IF if continues yearlong, or continues at this rate for a number of years. Most volcanoes, even so called "active" ones, don't put out this much CO2 for very long. Your calculations (600*200=120 million tons PER DAY. 120*365=4.38E10) are based on assumptions, the scientists have calculations based on actual data: "volcanoes are estimated to emit 242 million tonnes of CO2 per year." The fact of the matter is, the sum total of all CO2 out-gassed by active volcanoes amounts to less than 1% of anthropogenic emissions.


Even with this volcano "specialists with the European Environment Agency say that emissions from the aviation sector in the 27 nations of the European Union pump out around 440,000 tons per day." Just the air traffic from just 27 nations out emits this volcano.

If it were true that individual volcanic eruptions dominated human emissions and were causing the rise in CO2 concentrations, then the CO2 records would be full of spikes -- one for each eruption. Instead, such records show a smooth and regular trend while temperature records actually show a cooling effect after an eruption. That's because volcanoes emit more than just CO2, they also emit aerosols which block sunlight. BTW once-upon-a-time human emissions also produced a cooling effect because they included aerosols. This was during the 50s, 60s and early 70s before we got clean air acts passed.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/05/current-volcanic-activity-and-climate/

"SCIENCE:
If you don't make mistakes, you're doing it wrong.
If you don't correct those mistakes, you're doing it really wrong. If you can't accept that you're mistaken, you're not doing it at all."


Reel$$

Um no, my numbers are based on exactly what the article says: between 150 and 300k tons per day.

"volcanoes are estimated to emit 242 million tonnes of CO2 per year."

Gack! Do the math. A stupefyingly low "estimate" considering the daily CO2 produced by a single active volcano.

Of course all this is utterly meaningless since the volume of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere remains 385 Parts Per Million... An acknowledged TRACE gas that actively fertilizes plant life on Earth (a distinct benefit unless you are a misanthropic alien.)

Give it up ai_. Your campaign failed. Cancun and Copenhagen prove it. AGW is dead in the eyes of the public and the politicians. The reason? There is no evidence to support it!

"If you can't accept that you're mistaken, you're not doing it at all."

ai_vin

Um no, my numbers are based on exactly what the article says: between 150 and 300k tons per day...A stupefyingly low "estimate" considering the daily CO2 produced by a single active volcano.

That's right the article says between 150 and 300k tons per day are emitted by THIS-ONE-SINGLE-VOLCANO: One volcano that was big enough to make the new. Your mistake was thinking all the others were this active and in thinking any volcano will remain this active for the long term.

Gack! Do the math.

There's no need for me to "do the math" because actual scientists have already done it and they came up with the numbers I've quoted. The reason their "estimate" is so low is that they didn't have to multiple the output of a single active volcano by 600. They actually had direct individual measurements of output from most, if not all, of the individual volcanoes and simply had to ADD them together.

AGW is dead in the eyes of the public and the politicians. The reason? There is no evidence to support it!

The scientists have the evidence if you're willing to see it; http://skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-global-warming.htm
but sadly there will always be some in the public and government who aren't willing; http://www.care2.com/news/member/340105528/2627255

"SCIENCE:
If you don't make mistakes, you're doing it wrong.
If you don't correct those mistakes, you're doing it really wrong. If you can't accept that you're mistaken, you're not doing it at all."

BTW I went to the library today and had a look in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, want to guess what I found? I found that, concidering there is no term irradiance they sure used it a lot in their articles on Earth, Solar and Climate Sciences.

Are you at least willing to accept that you're mistaken about THAT much?

ai_vin

One more thing: Where did you get your estimate of 600 active volcanoes? http://www.volcano.si.edu/faq/index.cfm?faq=03

"Clearly some eruptions last for a very long time, like Stromboli's 2400+ year continuing pyrotechnic show (see the "How many active volcanoes are there in the world?" question). At the turn of the century the following 15 volcanoes have been erupting more or less continuously through the last three decades (the reporting span of SEAN/GVN) and are likely to remain active for some time: Stromboli and Etna (Italy); Erta Ale (Ethiopia); Manam, Langila, and Bagana (Papua New Guinea); Yasur (Vanuatu); Semeru and Dukono (Indonesia); Sakura-jima (Japan); Santa Maria and Pacaya (Guatemala); Arenal (Costa Rica); Sangay (Ecuador); and Erebus (Antarctica). However, other eruptions end swiftly: 10% of those for which we have accurate durations lasted no longer than a single day, most end in less than 3 months, and few last longer than 3 years. The median duration is about 7 weeks."

Henry Gibson

All of the plants and animals including all organisms of the world emit CO2 as do the volcanoes which have probably also destroyed more fossil fuels than the human race combined with plate tectonics.

The new measurement seems to be less than one/half of one part per hundred less and is at a solar minimum.

Abbot of the Smithsonian a hundred years ago spent many years investigating solar energy and proposed that weather followed the solar output some what delayed. He also could do continuous baking all day and night in his stored energy solar oven.

It is well know that the earth had much warmer temperatures whilst the fossil fuels were being formed and has had much colder temperatures recently. It is thought by most climate scientists that we will be coming up to another ice age and are only a few thousands of years out of the last one. Global warming by humans will be a brief episode in the earths history.

Perhaps a large underground hydrogen bomb or several could induce TAMBORA to explode again or Krakatoa. A few could take another thousand or two thousand feet off of Mount Saint Helens. Global warming would stop right away with the dust from a new tambora.

The entire Mediterranian has been dry once or twice and only refilled recently, a few hundred thousand years ago.

Global Warming is natures way of eliminating the most disasterous and destructive creature that ever existed upon the face of the earth, but it won't work; some of us are smart enough to go to higher land like Canute of old.
..HG..

Henry Gibson

The largest known US volcano was Yellowstone and CO2 still comes out of it. ..HG..

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