Back to overview

Modeling of the middle atmosphere response to 27-day solar irradiance variability

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2017
Author Sukhodolov Timofei, Rozanov Eugene, Ball William T., Peter Thomas, Schmutz Werner,
Project Future and Past Solar Influence on the Terrestrial Climate II
Show all

Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
Volume (Issue) 152-153
Page(s) 50 - 61
Title of proceedings Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
DOI 10.1016/j.jastp.2016.12.004


The solar rotational variability (27-day) signal in the Earth's middle atmosphere has been studied for several decades, as it was believed to help in the understanding of the Sun's influence on climate at longer timescales. However, all previous studies have found that this signal is very uncertain, likely due to the influence of the internal variability of the atmosphere. Here, we applied an ensemble modeling approach in order to decrease internal random variations in the modeled time series. Using a chemistry-climate model (CCM), SOCOLv3, we performed two 30-member 3-year long (2003–2005) ensemble runs: with and without a rotational component in input irradiance fluxes. We also performed similar simulations with a 1-D model, in order to demonstrate the system behavior in the absence of any dynamical feedbacks and internal perturbations. For the first time we show a clear connection between the solar rotation and the stratospheric tropical temperature time-series. We show tropical temperature and ozone signal phase lag patterns that are in agreement with those from a 1-D model. Pronounced correlation and signal phase lag patterns allow us to properly estimate ozone and temperature sensitivities to irradiance changes. While ozone sensitivity is found to be in agreement with recent sensitivities reported for the 11-year cycle, temperature sensitivity appears to be at the lowest boundary of previously reported values. Analysis of temperature reanalysis data, separate ensemble members, and modeling results without a rotational component reveals that the atmosphere can produce random internal variations with periods close to 27 days even without solar rotational forcing. These variations are likely related to tropospheric wave-forcing and complicate the extraction of the solar rotational signal from observational time-series of temperature and, to a lesser extent, of ozone. Possible ways of further improving solar rotational signal extraction are discussed.