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The Relative Importance of Solar and Anthropogenic Forcing of Climate Change between the Maunder Minimum and the Present

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  • 1 Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Columbia University, New York, New York
  • | 2 SGT Corporation, New York, New York
  • | 3 Naval Research Laboratories, Washington, D.C
  • | 4 Meteorological Service of Canada, Downsview, Ontario, Canada
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Abstract

The climate during the Maunder Minimum is compared with current conditions in GCM simulations that include a full stratosphere and parameterized ozone response to solar spectral irradiance variability and trace gas changes. The Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Global Climate/Middle Atmosphere Model (GCMAM) coupled to a q-flux/mixed-layer model is used for the simulations, which begin in 1500 and extend to the present. Experiments were made to investigate the effect of total versus spectrally varying solar irradiance changes; spectrally varying solar irradiance changes on the stratospheric ozone/climate response with both preindustrial and present trace gases; and the impact on climate and stratospheric ozone of the preindustrial trace gases and aerosols by themselves. The results showed that 1) the Maunder Minimum cooling relative to today was primarily associated with reduced anthropogenic radiative forcing, although the solar reduction added 40% to the overall cooling. There is no obvious distinguishing surface climate pattern between the two forcings. 2) The global and tropical response was greater than 1°C, in a model with a sensitivity of 1.2°C (W m−2)−1. To reproduce recent low-end estimates would require a sensitivity one-fourth as large. 3) The global surface temperature change was similar when using the total and spectral irradiance prescriptions, although the tropical response was somewhat greater with the former, and the stratospheric response greater with the latter. 4) Most experiments produce a relative negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation/Arctic Oscillation (NAO/AO) during the Maunder Minimum, with both solar and anthropogenic forcing equally capable, associated with the tropical cooling and relative poleward Eliassen–Palm (EP) flux refraction. 5) A full stratosphere appeared to be necessary for the negative AO/NAO phase, as was the case with this model for global warming experiments, unless the cooling was very large, while the ozone response played a minor role and did not influence surface temperature significantly. 6) Stratospheric ozone was most affected by the difference between present-day and preindustrial atmospheric composition and chemistry, with increases in the upper and lower stratosphere during the Maunder Minimum. While the estimated UV reduction led to ozone decreases, this was generally less important than the anthropogenic effect except in the upper midstratosphere, as judged by two different ozone photochemistry schemes. 7) The effect of the reduced solar irradiance on stratospheric ozone and on climate was similar in Maunder Minimum and current atmospheric conditions.

Corresponding author address: Dr. David Rind, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Columbia University, 2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025. Email: drind@giss.nasa.gov

Abstract

The climate during the Maunder Minimum is compared with current conditions in GCM simulations that include a full stratosphere and parameterized ozone response to solar spectral irradiance variability and trace gas changes. The Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Global Climate/Middle Atmosphere Model (GCMAM) coupled to a q-flux/mixed-layer model is used for the simulations, which begin in 1500 and extend to the present. Experiments were made to investigate the effect of total versus spectrally varying solar irradiance changes; spectrally varying solar irradiance changes on the stratospheric ozone/climate response with both preindustrial and present trace gases; and the impact on climate and stratospheric ozone of the preindustrial trace gases and aerosols by themselves. The results showed that 1) the Maunder Minimum cooling relative to today was primarily associated with reduced anthropogenic radiative forcing, although the solar reduction added 40% to the overall cooling. There is no obvious distinguishing surface climate pattern between the two forcings. 2) The global and tropical response was greater than 1°C, in a model with a sensitivity of 1.2°C (W m−2)−1. To reproduce recent low-end estimates would require a sensitivity one-fourth as large. 3) The global surface temperature change was similar when using the total and spectral irradiance prescriptions, although the tropical response was somewhat greater with the former, and the stratospheric response greater with the latter. 4) Most experiments produce a relative negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation/Arctic Oscillation (NAO/AO) during the Maunder Minimum, with both solar and anthropogenic forcing equally capable, associated with the tropical cooling and relative poleward Eliassen–Palm (EP) flux refraction. 5) A full stratosphere appeared to be necessary for the negative AO/NAO phase, as was the case with this model for global warming experiments, unless the cooling was very large, while the ozone response played a minor role and did not influence surface temperature significantly. 6) Stratospheric ozone was most affected by the difference between present-day and preindustrial atmospheric composition and chemistry, with increases in the upper and lower stratosphere during the Maunder Minimum. While the estimated UV reduction led to ozone decreases, this was generally less important than the anthropogenic effect except in the upper midstratosphere, as judged by two different ozone photochemistry schemes. 7) The effect of the reduced solar irradiance on stratospheric ozone and on climate was similar in Maunder Minimum and current atmospheric conditions.

Corresponding author address: Dr. David Rind, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Columbia University, 2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025. Email: drind@giss.nasa.gov

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