Solar Output and Global Warming TrendsBy: Doctor Paul Karl HoilandAbstract: Looking at the sunspot number time series and the timeperiod of reported global warming normally attributed to Industrialcauses causes one to ask the question if the general increase in solaractivity noted since the 1930’s with high peaks in the period between1980 to 1990 might not itself be a major cause of the global warming.Much has been made of the manmade influences on global warming. Butone aspect that has not made it into the news in any major way is theinfluence of increases in solar activity upon earth surface temperaturerises. Changes in the energy from the Sun potentially could influenceglobal change directly by modifying the Earth's surface temperature andby creating and destroying atmosphere ozone at variable rates. Solarvariability may also influence global change indirectly, by modifyingthe middle atmosphere, which is connected chemically, dynamically, andradiatively with thetroposphere/biosphere. In the upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere,and in the geospace environment, solar variations cause dramaticchanges that are critical for understanding the processes within thoseregions, although the extent to which these changes couple to loweratmospheric layers is uncertain at this time.
Once it is understood that the Variable Sun Background Changes in the energy fromthe Sun potentially could influence global change directly by modifying the Earth'ssurface temperature it becomes important then to determine if some of the globalwarming could be coming from changes in the Sun’s energy output. A properstarting are in such a study would be the sunspot activity over the past couple of decades.
The fundamental physical processes that generate the variationsobserved in solar energy production are associated with the 22-yearmagnetic cycle of the Sun. The sunspot number time series remains theprincipal historical indicator of this cycle. The figure below (left)shows the AA Yearly Index, a way of quantifying the magneticdisturbances, over the last 120 years superimposed to the sunspotnumber.