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Impact of Solar Vs. Volcanic Activity Variations on Tropospheric Temperatures and Precipitation During the Dalton Minimum : Volume 9, Issue 6 (04/11/2013)

By Anet, J. G.

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Book Id: WPLBN0003988163
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 42
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Impact of Solar Vs. Volcanic Activity Variations on Tropospheric Temperatures and Precipitation During the Dalton Minimum : Volume 9, Issue 6 (04/11/2013)  
Author: Anet, J. G.
Volume: Vol. 9, Issue 6
Language: English
Subject: Science, Climate, Past
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications

Description: Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science ETH, Zurich, Switzerland. The aim of this work is to elucidate the impact of changes in solar irradiance and energetic particles vs. volcanic eruptions on tropospheric global climate during the Dalton Minimum (DM, 1780–1840 AD). Separate variations in the (i) solar irradiance in the UV-C with wavelengths λ < 250 nm, (ii) irradiance at wavelengths λ > 250 nm, (iii) in energetic particle spectrum, and (iv) volcanic aerosol forcing were analyzed separately, and (v) in combination, by means of small ensemble calculations using a coupled atmosphere-ocean chemistry-climate-model. Global and hemispheric mean surface temperatures show a significant dependence on solar irradiance at λ > 250 nm. Also, powerful volcanic eruptions in 1809, 1815, 1831 and 1835 significantly decrease global mean temperature by up to 0.5 K for 2–3 yr after the eruption. However, while the volcanic effect is clearly discernible in the southern hemispheric mean temperature, it is less significant in the Northern Hemisphere, partly because the two largest volcanic eruptions occurred in the SH tropics and during seasons when the aerosols were mainly transported southward, partly because of the higher northern internal variability. In the simulation including all forcings, temperatures are in reasonable agreement with the tree-ring-based temperature anomalies of the Northern Hemisphere. Interestingly, the model suggests that solar irradiance changes at λ < 250 nm and in energetic particle spectra have only insignificant impact on the climate during the Dalton Minimum. This downscales the importance of top-down processes (stemming from changes at λ < 250 nm) relative to bottom-up processes (from λ > 250 nm). Reduction of irradiance at λ > 250 nm leads to a significant (up to 2%) decrease of the ocean heat content (OHC) between the 0 and 300 m of depth, whereas the changes in irradiance at λ < 250 nm or in energetic particle have virtually no effect. Also, volcanic aerosol yields a very strong response, reducing the OHC of the upper ocean by up to 1.5%. In the simulation with all forcings, the OHC of the uppermost levels recovers after 8–15 yr after volcanic eruption, while the solar signal and the different volcanic eruptions dominate the OHC changes in the deeper ocean and prevent its recovery during the DM. Finally, the simulations suggest that the volcanic eruptions during the DM had a significant impact on the precipitation patterns caused by a widening of the Hadley cell and a shift of the intertropical convergence zone.

Impact of solar vs. volcanic activity variations on tropospheric temperatures and precipitation during the Dalton Minimum

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