Solar Driver of Climate Change

Energy imbalance is central to understanding and explaining climate change.

The NASA-Goddard simplified representations does not show any long-term imbalance; others (Trenberth, Fasullo, & Kiehl, 2009) show an “net absorbed” of 0.9 W·m-2. The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) indicates a “Surface imbalance” of 0.6 ±0.17 W·m-2 (one appreciates the margin precision).

Judith Curry observes taking into account all potential errors leaves the true range of validity of this imbalance of the order of hundreds of percent, thus challenging the narrative of a ticking time bomb accumulated in the ocean depths.

The take-away is a small change in energy balance can have measurable impacts on climate temperature.

Zharkhova (2021) modeled the daily ephemeris of Sun-Earth distances in two millennia (600–2600), and explains the two-millennial variations (Hallstatt’s cycle) of the baseline solar magnetic field measured from Earth. These S-E distance variations translate to variation of total solar irradiance (TSI) with increases in February–June by up to 10–12 W-m-2 in M1 and 14–18 W-m-2 in M2. Note these variations exceed the imbalances attributed to measured GHG concentration increases.

The annual TSI magnitudes, calculated from the daily S-E distances reveal a much larger annual increase of the total solar irradiance by about 20–25 W-m-2 by 2500 in M2 compared to millennium M1. This means there is an excess of solar radiation input into the terrestrial atmosphere in millennium M2 not accounted for by any other consideration that has to be considered for the solar forcing.

For the present, the Sun entered the period of a reduced solar activity in 2020: the Grand Solar Minimum (2020–2053). Zharkova anticipates a decrease of solar irradiance during this GSM is expected to be about 3 W-m-2, or 0.22%.


Curry, J. A. (2021, March 28). A pertinent climate question. Retrieved April 1, 2021, from website:

Kramer, R. J., He, H., Soden, B. J., Oreopoulos, L., Myhre, G., Forster, P. M., & Smith, C. J. (2021). Observational evidence of increasing global radiative forcing. Geophysical Research Letters, 48(e2020GL091585).

Trenberth, K. E., Fasullo, J. T., & Kiehl, J. (2009). Earth’s global energy budget.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 90(3), 311–323.

Zharkova, V., (2021). Millennial Oscillations of Solar Irradiance and Magnetic Field in 600–2600. DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.96450

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