The Earth's climate system depends entirely on the Sun for its energy. Solar radiation warms the atmosphere and is fundamental to atmospheric composition, while the distribution of solar heating across the planet produces global wind patterns and contributes to the formation of clouds, storms, and rainfall. The Sun's Influence on Climate provides an unparalleled introduction to this vitally important relationship.
This accessible primer covers the basic properties of the Earth's climate system, the structure and behavior of the Sun, and the absorption of solar radiation in the atmosphere. It explains how solar activity varies and how these variations affect the Earth's environment, from long-term paleoclimate effects to century timescales in the context of human-induced climate change, and from signals of the 11-year sunspot cycle to the impacts of solar emissions on space weather in our planet's upper atmosphere. Written by two of the leading authorities on the subject, The Sun's Influence on Climate is an essential primer for students and nonspecialists alike.
"Increasing understanding of how the sun affects climate will deepen human understanding of future trajectories of climate change."
"Exceptional. No other book can compete with this one in providing students with a comprehensive, unified treatment of the subject."
– Peter Pilewskie, University of Colorado Boulder
"This succinct volume will be invaluable to scientists and general readers who want to learn more about the Sun and its effects on our climate system. The Sun's Influence on Climate is an excellent book."
– Gerald R. North, Texas A&M University
"The Sun's Influence on Climate provides a quick, nontechnical introduction to the topic. I know of no comparable book covering our current state of knowledge about solar-climate connections."
– Hauke Schmidt, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology
1 Introduction 1
2 The Earth’s Climate System 12
3 The Sun 40
4 Solar Radiation at the Earth 66
5 Solar Variability 92
6 Solar Signals in Surface Climate 109
7 Solar Influence through the Atmosphere 129
8 Space Weather 154
9 Summary 166
Appendix: Detection of Solar Signals in Climate and Weather Records 171
Suggestions for Further Reading 185
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Joanna D. Haigh is professor of atmospheric physics and codirector of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London.
Peter Cargill is professor emeritus of physics at Imperial College London and honorary professor in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of St. Andrews.