U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

The 11 Year Solar Cycle Linked to Tropical Pacific Climate
Published: July 27, 2009
Posted: August 06, 2009

The total energy reaching Earth from the Sun varies by only 0.1 percent across the normal 11 year solar cycle.  Scientists have sought for decades to link these small solar ups and downs to weather and climate variations and distinguish their subtle effects from the larger pattern of human-caused global warming.  DOE-funded scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have now established a key link between the solar cycle and global climate showing that maximum solar activity and its aftermath have impacts in the tropical Pacific Ocean that resemble La Niña events, followed by El Niño-like events.  This research may pave the way toward predictions of temperature and precipitation patterns at certain times during the approximately 11-year solar cycle.

Reference:  Meehl, G.A., and J.M. Arblaster, 2009:  A lagged warm event-like response to peaks in solar forcing in the Pacific region.  J. Climate, 22, 3647--3660.

Contact: Renu Joseph, SC-23.1, 301-903-9237
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER


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