Observations of Solar Irradiance Variability

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Science  13 Feb 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4483, pp. 700-702
DOI: 10.1126/science.211.4483.700


High-precision measurements of total solar irradiance, made by the active cavity radiometer irradiance monitor on the Solar Maximum Mission satellite, show the irradiance to have been variable throughout the first 153 days of observations. The corrected data resolve orbit-to-orbit variations with uncertainties as small as 0.001 percent. Irradiance fluctuations are typical of a band-limited noise spectrum with high-frequency cutoff near 0.15 day–1 their amplitudes about the mean value of 1368.31 watts per square meter approach ± 0.05 percent. Two large decreases in irrradiance of up to 0.2 percent lasting about 1 week are highly correlated with the development of sunspot groups. The magnitude and time scale of the irradiance variability suggest that considerable energy storage occurs within the convection zone in solar active regions.

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