National Academies Press: OpenBook

Solar Influences on Global Change (1994)

Chapter:FRONT MATTER

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Solar Influences on Global Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4778.
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Solar Influences
On
Global Change

Board on Global Change

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C. 1994

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the ad hoc group responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

This work was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Geological Survey, United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Naval Research, and Department of Energy under Contract No. OCE 9313563.

Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 94-67788
International Standard Book Number 0-309-05148-7

Additional copies of this report are available from:

National Academy Press
2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Box 285
Washington, DC 20055
800-624-6242
202-334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area)

B-468

Cover artist, Marilyn Marshall Kirkman finds her artistic inspiration in the  Rocky Mountain West. Born in Wyoming and now living in Colorado, she is  surrounded by a world that demands expression. Vivid color and strong values,  eliciting light, convey her message.

Marilyn Kirkman attended Mills College and is a graduate of the University of  Wyoming. Having been a teacher and parent, she is now a freelance artist.  Largely self-taught, she specializes in watercolor painting. Her work is  represented by the Arati Artists Gallery, Colorado Springs, CO.

Copyright 1994 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Solar Influences on Global Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4778.
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Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Solar Influences on Global Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4778.
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Page iii

BOARD ON GLOBAL CHANGE

EDWARD A. FRIEMAN, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Chairman

ERIC J. BARRON, Pennsylvania State University

ROBERT COSTANZA, Maryland Institute for Ecological Economics

JEFF DOZIER, University of California

PETER EAGLESON, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

PRISCILLA C. GREW, Minnesota Geological Survey

RICHARD E. HALLGREN, American Meteorological Society

ESTELLA LEOPOLD, University of Washington

PAMELA A. MATSON, NASA-Ames Research Center

VEERABHADRAN RAMANATHAN, University of California, San Diego

VERNON W. RUTTAN, University of Minnesota

ROBERT H. SOCOLOW, Princeton University

KARL K. TUREKIAN, Yale University

GUNTER WELLER, University of Alaska

Ex-Officio Members

(U.S. Members, ICSU Scientific Committee for the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP))

JAMES J. McCARTHY, Harvard University

JERRY M. MELILLO, The Ecosystem Center

S. ICHTIAQUE RASOOL, University of Paris VI

(U.S. Members, Joint Scientific Committee for the World Climate Research Program (WCRP))

MARGARET S. LEINEN, University of Rhode Island

JERRY D. MAHLMAN, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

(U.S. Member, International Steering Committee for the Human Dimensions of Global Change Program)

HAROLD K. JACOBSON, University of Michigan

Staff

JOHN S. PERRY, Staff Director

CLAUDETTE BAYLOR-FLEMING, Administrative Assistant

DONALD H. HUNT, Consultant

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Solar Influences on Global Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4778.
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Page iv

COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES,
ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES

M. GORDON WOLMAN, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, Chairman

PATRICK R. ATKINS, Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh, PA

EDITH BROWN WEISS, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC

PETER S. EAGLESON, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

EDWARD A. FRIEMAN, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA

W. BARCLAY KAMB, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

JACK E. OLIVER, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

FRANK L. PARKER, Vanderbilt/Clemson University, Nashville, TN

RAYMOND A. PRICE, Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada

THOMAS A. SCHELLING, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

LARRY L. SMARR, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL

STEVEN M. STANLEY, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

VICTORIA J. TSCHINKEL, Landers and Parsons, Tallahassee, FL

WARREN WASHINGTON, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO

Staff

STEPHEN RATTIEN, Executive Director

STEPHEN D. PARKER, Associate Executive Director

MORGAN GOPNIK, Assistant Executive Director

JEANETTE SPOON, Administrative Officer

SANDI FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate

ROBIN ALLEN, Senior Project Assistant (BOND)

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Solar Influences on Global Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4778.
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Page v

Acknowledgments

The Board is deeply indebted to the following group of scientists for their contributions to this report:

JUDITH LEAN, Naval Research Laboratory, Group Chair

DANIEL BAKER, University of Colorado

MARVIN GELLER, SUNY at Stony Brook

THOMAS POTEMRA, The Johns Hopkins University

GEORGE REID, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

DAVID RIND, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

RAYMOND ROBLE, National Center for Atmospheric Research

ORAN WHITE, National Center for Atmospheric Research

DONALD WILLIAMS, The Johns Hopkins University

RICHARD WILLSON, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

GEORGE WITHBROE, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

DONALD WUEBBLES, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Solar Influences on Global Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4778.
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Page vi

The National Academy of Sciences is private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and of advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Solar Influences on Global Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4778.
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Page vii

Preface

In a series of reports over the past decade, the National Research Council (NRC) has outlined a broad scientific agenda to advance our understanding of the processes of global change. These studies stimulated and nourished the evolution of international efforts centered on the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP) and the World Climate Research Program and in our own country supported the development of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. As these programs move rapidly from concept to implementation, the NRC Board on Global Change (BGC) has continued to assess critically the scientific needs. Is the scientific agenda truly comprehensive? Are the priorities appropriate in terms of needs for understanding, scientific opportunities, and technological possibilities? Are there gaps that should be and could be filled? Can recommendations be usefully sharpened and focused?

To address such questions, our Board organized extended ad hoc consultations in a few selected problem areas with informal groups of experts from the scientific community. We focused on problems that were fundamentally important to the program's goals, but were not yet being effectively addressed within the program. Solar influences on the Earth system clearly constituted one such issue. The Sun's energy makes life on this planet possible. Interactions between solar energy and the radiative properties of the atmosphere maintain an equable climate through the greenhouse effect, and there is much concern about human-induced changes in the atmosphere. But the Sun itself is known to vary significantly

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Solar Influences on Global Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4778.
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Page viii

in its activity. What are the implications of these changes for an already changing planet?

These considerations led the planners of the USGCRP to include solar influences as a major element of the science program. However, the research agenda was at the time relatively undeveloped. What specific research initiatives could be proposed to fill this gap and to improve understanding of the role of the Sun in global change?

In 1990, our Board requested the assistance of a talented group of active research scientists led Dr. Judith Lean of the Naval Research Laboratory to address these issues. Her group was asked to assist in developing a brief report identifying those aspects of research on the Sun and its interactions with our planet that would contribute to an understanding of global change, together with scientific approaches to developing research plans. It was hoped that these ideas would be useful to the federal agencies as they formulated plans for the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

We are very grateful to Dr. Lean and her collaborators for working with us to develop a set of specific foci for research in this central problem area. We also wish to thank the following individuals:

Dr. Jack Eddy provided the inspiration for this report. The indication that the Sun may be important for the Earth is his vision, carried through the past two decades. His initial concepts, carefully documented in the 1982 Academy Report on Solar Variability, Weather and Climate, laid the groundwork for this more recent assessment of the relationship.

Donald Williams and members of NRC's Committee on Solar Terrestrial Research (CSTR), which together with the Board on Global Change sponsored the ad hoc Group on Solar Influences on Global Change, provided useful critical comments on a draft of the report.

Valuable comments were also provided by many members of the solar and terrestrial research communities, including Linwood Callis, Gizella Dreschoff, Rolando Garcia, John Harvey, James Hecht, Thomas Holzer, Lon Hood, Charles Jackman, Robert Meier, Brian Tinsley, and Edward Zeller. Gary Rottman provided preliminary SOLSTICE data.

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Solar Influences on Global Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4778.
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Page ix

We also appreciate the work of Dr. John S. Perry, Mr. Donald Hunt, and Ms. Claudette Baylor-Fleming of the NRC staff in supporting this effort.

Edward A. Frieman, Chairman
Board on Global Change

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Solar Influences on Global Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4778.
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Page xi

Contents

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1

Scientific Conclusions

2

Recommendations

10

1 INTRODUCTION

13

The Coupled Sun-Earth System

13

Global Change Research

20

Solar Influences on Global Change: A Major Scientific Research Element of the USGCRP

21

Objectives of the Report

22

2 SOLAR VARIATIONS AND CLIMATE CHANGE

23

Background

23

Total Solar Irradiance Variability

26

Contemporary measurements

26

Implications from observations of solar surrogates

29

Geophysical proxies

31

Evidence from observations of Sun-like stars

32

Solar Forcing of Climate Change

33

Solar irradiance changes and the relatively recent climate

36

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Solar Influences on Global Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4778.
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Page xii

Solar activity cycles and the weather

40

Insolation changes due to orbital variations

44

3 SOLAR VARIATIONS, OZONE, AND THE MIDDLE ATMOSPHERE

49

Background

49

Solar Ultraviolet Radiation

53

Measurements of solar UV spectral irradiance

53

Irradiance variability parameterizations

56

Energetic Particles

58

Solar proton events

58

Relativistic electrons

61

Galactic cosmic rays

65

Solar Forcing of the Middle Atmosphere

66

Effects from variations in UV irradiance

66

Effects from solar proton events

68

Effects from relativistic electron precipitation

69

Ultraviolet Radiation Reaching the Biosphere

70

4 SOLAR VARIATIONS AND THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE

73

Background

73

Solar EUV and UV Radiation

74

Measurements of solar EUV spectral irradiance

74

Irradiance variability parameterizations

76

Auroral Particle and Electric Field Inputs

78

Global Currents and Electric Field Couplings

81

Global circuit processes

81

Electric couplings between the upper and lower atmospheres

83

Solar Forcing and Global Change within the Upper Atmosphere

84

Couplings of the Upper Atmosphere to the Lower Atmosphere

85

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Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Solar Influences on Global Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4778.
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Page xiii

5 SOLAR VARIATIONS AND EARTH'S NEAR-SPACE ENVIRONMENT

89

Background

89

The Solar Wind and the Earth's Magnetosphere

90

Solar Eruptive Events and Geomagnetic Storms

91

Terrestial Impacts

93

6 UNDERSTANDING THE VARIABLE SUN

95

Background

95

Origins of Solar Variability

96

Relationship between Solar Surface Structure and Energy from the Sun-as-a-Star

100

Radiation

100

Plasma and particles

106

Cosmic rays

107

Requirements for Improved Understanding

107

Present

107

Past

109

Future

110

7 RESEARCH STRATEGIES

111

Monitoring Solar Forcing

112

Total solar irradiance

113

Solar spectral irradiance

114

Energetic particles

116

Ground based solar variability indicators

117

Monitoring Terrestrial Solar Effects

119

Lower atmosphere

119

Middle atmosphere

120

Upper atmosphere

121

Understanding Solar Influences on Global Change

122

Studies of present day behavior

123

Records of the past

125

Understanding and Predicting Solar Variability

126

Programmatic Approach

129

Need for interdisciplinary efforts

129

Connections to other areas of the USGCRP

130

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Solar Influences on Global Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4778.
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Page xiv

Agency roles

130

International aspects

133

8 RECOMMENDATIONS

135

Scientific Rationale for Assigning Priorities

135

Recommendations

135

Primary recommendations

135

Additional recommendations

136

REFERENCES

141

ACRONYMS

161

Solar Influences
On
Global Change

Suggested Citation:"FRONT MATTER." National Research Council. 1994. Solar Influences on Global Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4778.
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Are variations in the energy generated by the Sun sufficient to modify the Earth's global environment at levels comparable to expected anthropogenic changes? Debated contentiously for more than a century, this question must now be posed with new urgency: the proper specification of natural global changes is a prerequisite for detecting anthropogenic impacts. Important advances over the past decade in our knowledge of the Sun and of the terrestrial responses to solar variability provides the basis for answering this question with unprecedented surety, but significant uncertainties remain. This book addresses current monitoring and understanding of solar influences on both the climate system and the ozone layer and prioritizes the research effort that will be needed to provide a sound scientific basis for policymaking related to global change issues.

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