Long-term variations in the open solar flux and possible links to Earth’s climate
Lockwood, M. (2002) Long-term variations in the open solar flux and possible links to Earth’s climate. In: “From Solar Min to Max: Half a solar cycle with SoHO”, 11th SoHO Symposium, March 2002, Davos, Switzerland, pp. 507-522. (ESA-SP-508: “From Solar Min to Max: Half a solar cycle with SoHO”, Proc. SoHO 11 Symposium, Davos, Switzerland,)
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Recent paleoclimate studies provide strong evidence for an association between cosmogenic isotope production and Earth’s climate throughout the holecene. These isotopes are generated by the bombardment of Earth’s atmosphere by galactic cosmic rays, the fluxes of which vary in approximately inverse proportion to the total open magnetic flux of the Sun. This paper discusses how results from the Ulysses spacecraft allow us to quantify the open solar flux from observations of near-Earth interplanetary space and to study its long-term variations using the homogeneous record of geomagnetic activity. A study of the results and of their accuracy is presented. The two proposed mechanisms that could lead to the open solar flux being a good proxy for solar-induced climate change are discussed: the first is the modulation of the production of some types of cloud by the air ions produced by cosmic rays; the second is a variation in the total or spectral solar irradiance, in association with changes in the open flux. Some implications for our understanding of anthropogenic climate change are discussed.