SOLENA - Solar effects on natural climate variability in the North Atlantic and Arctic

About the project

While there is strong evidence that global climate change is related to man-made increasing greenhouse gases, there remains uncertainties regarding the actual contribution of natural climate variability. The latter includes the role of solar variability, and the 11-year solar cycle in particular, which can have a stronger influence on regional rather than global mean temperatures. In particular, recent studies suggest that the winter circulation patterns, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) could be strongly modulated by the 11-year solar cycle. The NAO is the dominating weather pattern over the Atlantic-European region and a better understanding of its governing mechanisms and predictability would be hugely important, not only for science, but also for the European economic and societal needs.

SOLENA used a new generation of coupled ocean-atmosphere climate models, with a fully chemically interactive middle atmosphere. It brings together a multidisciplinary team to address the role of the Sun in climate variability on seasonal, decadal and centennial time scales, considering jointly radiance and particle fluxes variations within a common state-of-the-art modelling framework. A special focus is the atmosphere-ocean interactions. SOLENA will also examine climate variations associated with grand minima in solar radiative forcing. SOLENA hence aims at gaining novel insights about the role of the Sun in influencing climate variability that may ultimately lead to improved decadal climate predictions, with special relevance for Northern Europe, the North Atlantic and the Arctic but also for other teleconnections with the tropical and Pacific regions.

As an effort to include energetic particle effects in long-term climate simulations, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) now recommends a solar forcing that is composed not only of radiative but also particle fluxes. To this end, an electron precipitation forcing dataset has been reconstructed, extending back in time using proxy data, for use in climate model simulations such as those carried out in this project.

Project leader

Yvan Orsolini, Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU)


The Research Council of Norway, RCN.

Published Oct. 24, 2017 11:58 AM - Last modified Oct. 28, 2019 11:16 AM