Climate and Atmospheric Effects of the Sun in Arctic Regions
Strategic research project of the University of Oulu
Focus institute: Kvantum
We are leading a Center of Excellence of the Academy of Finland called ReSoLVE (Research on Solar Long-term Variability and Effects) with a mission to study the long-term (decadal to millennial) solar magnetic variability and its effects in all heliosphere, the space dominated by the solar wind, including the near-Earth space, as well as the Earth's neutral atmosphere and climate. This is part of the new emerging field of solar-terrestrial research called Space Climate. The magnetic evolution of the Sun experienced a dramatic increase in the 20th century, forming a maximum in solar activity which was higher than during the last two millennia. It is also known that this exceptional period is now over, and solar activity has attained a far lower level, comparable to that some 100 years ago. These developments have important consequences to all heliosphere, including changes in the near-Earth environment.
It is also known since recently that solar wind has significant effects not only to the Earth's upper and middle atmosphere but also to the troposphere and surface climate, especially at mid- and high latitudes. Solar wind related particle precipitation causes ozone loss and changes in the climate circulation patterns at all levels. For example, solar wind partly controls the variability related to the Northern Atlantic Oscillation, the main climate mode in the Atlantic sector. The research topics of ReSoLVE include, e.g., the structure of solar magnetic fields, solar corona, solar wind and the heliospheric magnetic field, and their effect to the near-Earth space, electromagnetic disturbances, geomagnetic activity and geomagnetic storms, magnetospheric particles, effects to atmospheric chemistry and circulation as well as to surface climate, especially at high latitudes. We are analyzing a versatile suite of long-term databases, including solar, space, atmospheric and climate data, but are currently also enhancing our simulation activities.
Key words: Space climate, solar activity, long-term change, solar effects to atmosphere and climate