Daily Archives: April 13, 2014

Small changes in solar radiation have an amplfied effect

Fangqun Yu and Gan Luo 2014. Effect of solar variations on particle formation and cloud condensation nuclei.  Environ. Res. Lett. 9 045004  doi:10.1088/1748-9326/9/4/045004

The impact of solar variations on particle formation and cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), a critical step for one of the possible solar indirect climate forcing pathways, is studied here with a global aerosol model optimized for simulating detailed particle formation and growth processes. The effect of temperature change in enhancing the solar cycle CCN signal is investigated for the first time. Our global simulations indicate that a decrease in ionization rate associated with galactic cosmic ray flux change from solar minimum to solar maximum reduces annual mean nucleation rates, number concentration of condensation nuclei larger than 10 nm (CN10), and number concentrations of CCN at water supersaturation ratio of 0.8% (CCN0.8) and 0.2% (CCN0.2) in the lower troposphere by 6.8%, 1.36%, 0.74%, and 0.43%, respectively. The inclusion of 0.2 °C temperature increase enhances the CCN solar cycle signals by around 50%. The annual mean solar cycle CCN signals have large spatial and seasonal variations: (1) stronger in the lower troposphere where warm clouds are formed, (2) about 50% larger in the northern hemisphere than in the southern hemisphere, and (3) about a factor of two larger during the corresponding hemispheric summer seasons. The effect of solar cycle perturbation on CCN0.2 based on present study is generally higher than those reported in several previous studies, up to around one order of magnitude.

Click here for the full paper (Open Access).