Wednesday, August 14, 2013

New paper finds a significant increase of solar radiation received at Earth's surface 1993-2003

A paper published today in Atmospheric Research examines solar radiation received at the Earth's surface at a mountaintop station in Poland from 1964-2003, and finds a significant increase over the period 1993-2003 in comparison to 1964-1992. The paper adds to many other peer-reviewed publications finding "global brightening" of solar radiation received at the Earth's surface in the latter 20th century, which has had 26 times more climate forcing effect than CO2 over a comparable time period. 

An analysis of the extinction of direct solar radiation on Mt. Kasprowy Wierch, Poland

  • Department of Meteorology and Climatology, Faculty of Earth Sciences, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Lwowska 1, 87-100 Toruń, Poland


Extinction of solar radiation on Mt. Kasprowy Wierch (Poland) was examined.
Changes in extinction in diurnal, annual and multi-annual cycles were demonstrated.
The smallest extinction in the diurnal course occurred in the morning.
The smallest extinction occurred in winter and the greatest in summer.
The area under consideration revealed low extinction of solar radiation.


The study describes the extinction of direct solar radiation in a high mountainous region, as represented by the example of Mount Kasprowy Wierch (in the Tatra Mountains, Poland), in the period of 1964--2003. The location is specific due to its high elevation (1,991 m a.s.l.) and lack of significant local sources of industrial pollution. The data used for this study had been made available by the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management (Poland).
The extinction of solar radiation was expressed by means of Linke’s turbidity factor (TL2), the atmospheric transparency coefficient (p2) and Ångström’s turbidity coefficient (βL2). Changes in individual optical characteristics of the atmosphere were presented in diurnal and annual courses and in distinguished long-term periods. In a diurnal course, the smallest extinction of solar radiation in the studied period occurred before midday (TL2 = 2.17), whereas in the afternoon its value increased (TL2 = 2.40). In an annual course, not unlike in a number of other locations where such studies had been carried out, the atmosphere was the most transparent to solar radiation in the winter (TL2 = 1.96) and the least in the summer (TL2 = 2.86). In a multi-annual course, divided into two long-term sub-periods, less extinction of solar radiation occurred in the second of these (1994--2003).
Several factors, both natural and anthropogenic, contributed to the improvement in the optical state of the atmosphere in the second sub-period. A decrease in volcanic activity observed at that time is one significant natural factor, whereas in the case of the anthropogenic factors, a substantial reduction of atmospheric emissions resulting from social and political transformations in Central and Eastern Europe is an important aspect. These transformations had triggered considerable economic changes, with reduced emissions being one of the outcomes.
The extinction of solar radiation was also juxtaposed with the prevailing air masses. The smallest atmospheric turbidity was found in arctic air masses (TL2 = 2.07), whereas the greatest turbidity was characteristic of tropical air masses (TL2 = 2.69).



  2. solar activity may have driven co2 levels over past 7,000 years