An Empirical Model of Total Solar Irradiance Variation Between 1874 and 1988

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Science  02 Feb 1990:
Vol. 247, Issue 4942, pp. 556-558
DOI: 10.1126/science.247.4942.556


An empirical model of variations in the total solar irradiance caused by observed changes in photospheric magnetic activity between 1874 and 1988 is presented. The model provides a remarkably good representation of the irradiance variations observed by satellite-borne radiometers between 1980 and 1988. It suggests that the mean total irradiance has been rising steadily since about 1945, with the largest peak so far at about 1980 and another large peak expected during the current solar cycle 22. But it is doubtful whether even this rise can contribute significantly to global warming, unless the temperature increase of about 0.02°C that it produces in current energy balance models seriously underestimates the sensitivity of climate to solar irradiance changes.