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Evidence for a solar signature in 20th-century temperature data from the USA and Europe from Geomagnetism and Palaeomagnetism, institut de physique du Globe de Paris
Tuesday, June 30th 2009, 10:10 AM EDT
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Icecap Note: Extending the solar TSI (Hoyt and Willson) and US temperatures up to the present time and adding the ocean multidecadal cycles, we see that relationship continue. It also suggest the current cooling trend as it is similar to the trend down in solar and ocean temperatures in the late 1950s and 1960s

by Jean-Louis Le Mouël, Vincent Courtillot *, Elena Blanter, Mikhail Shnirman.


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We analyze temperature data from meteorological stations in the USA (six climatic regions, 153 stations), Europe (44 stations, considered as one climatic region) and Australia (preliminary, five stations). We select stations with long, homogeneous series of daily minimum temperatures (covering most of the 20th century, with few or no gaps).

We find that station data are well correlated over distances in the order of a thousand kilometres. When an average is calculated for each climatic region, we find well characterized mean curves with strong variability in the 3-15-year period range and a superimposed decadal to centennial or ‘secular’ trend consisting of a small number of linear segments separated by rather sharp changes in slope. Our overall curve for the USA rises sharply from 1910 to 1940, then decreases until 1980 and rises sharply again since then. The minima around 1920 and 1980 have similar values, and so do the maxima around 1935 and 2000; the range between minima and maxima is 1.38C. The European mean curve is quite different, and can be described as a step-like function with zero slope and a 1.8C jump occurring in less than two years around 1987. Also notable is a strong (cold) minimum in 1940. Both the USA and the European mean curves are rather different from the corresponding curves illustrated in the 2007 IPCC report.

We then estimate the long-term behaviour of the higher frequencies (disturbances) of the temperature series by calculating the mean-squared interannual variations or the ‘lifetime’ (i.e. the mean duration of temperature disturbances) of the data series. We find that the resulting curves correlate remarkably well at the longer periods, within and between regions. The secular trend of all of these curves is similar (an S-shaped pattern), with a rise from 1900 to 1950, a decrease from 1950 to 1975, and a subsequent (small) increase. This trend is the same as that found for a number of solar indices, such as sunspot number or magnetic field components in any observatory.

We conclude that significant solar forcing is present in temperature disturbances in the areas we analyzed and conjecture that this should be a global feature.

We have also shown that solar activity, as characterized by the mean-squared daily variation of a geomagnetic component (but equally by sunspot numbers or sunspot surface) modulates major features of climate. And this modulation is strong, much stronger than the one per mil variation in total solar irradiance in the 1- to 11-year range: the interannual variation, which does amount to energy content, varies by a factor of two in Europe, the USA and Australia. This result could well be valid at the full continental scale if not worldwide. We have calculated the evolution of temperature disturbances, using either the mean-squared annual variation or the lifetime. When 22-year averaged variations are compared, the same features emerge, particularly a characteristic centennial trend (an S-shaped curve) consisting of a rise from 1920 to 1950, a decrease from 1950 to 1975 and a rise since. A very similar trend is found for solar indices. Both these longer-term variations, and decadal and sub-decadal, well-correlated features in lifetime result from the persistence of higher frequency phenomena that appear to be influenced by the Sun. The present preliminary study of course needs confirmation by including regions that have not yet been analyzed.

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