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Studying Solar Activities and Climate Change from a Multidisciplinary Perspective

The sun is the fundamental energy source for the earth climate system. And the earth’s motions on large timescale exert great impacts on climate change. Thus, the impact of astronomical and earth motion factors on climate change has been an intriguing topic to scientists, but due to the interdisciplinary nature of this subject, research in this field in China has been scarce.   

A National Basic Research Program of China targeting to reveal the impact of astronomical and earth motion on climate change has recently been completed.    

“Five-year coordinated efforts of scientists from disciplines atmospheric science, astronomy, Earth sciences, marine science and space physics have greatly advanced our understanding.” Prof. XIAO Ziniu, the PI of the Program, concluded the program. Prof. XIAO is the director of the State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (LASG), Institute of Atmospheric Physics.   

 “We found that solar winds and electric field microphysical process are new mechanism that affects climate; we established a physical conceptual model depicting the response of the interdecadal variation of the air-sea system to the solar activity.” He said.   

The Program members also revealed multiple time scale relationship between the earth motion factors and climate change. And they predicted and assessed the possible contribution of future solar activity and the earth rotation to the global temperature change based on the statistical model and numerical modelling.   

These findings help to fill the knowledge gap in research in China. “More importantly”, as put by Prof. XIAO, “thanks to the implementation of this program, a group of interdisciplinary team was built, laying solid foundation for further study”.    

According to Prof. XIAO, follow-up research is currently in progress, which centers on two aspects, one is the effect of the solar radiative forcing and solar energetic particles on the high latitude climate by modulating the polar stratospheric-troposphere coupling, and the other is the responsive and amplifying mechanism of the East Asian monsoon region and the tropical Pacific Ocean atmosphere system to the solar activity interdecadal variations.    

Major findings of the Program have been published in international journals including Journal of Meteorological Research, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Letters, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics and Advances in Space Research.   




Zhao, L., J. S. Wang, H. W. Liu, Xiao Z., 2017: Amplification of the solar signal in the summer monsoon rainband in China by synergistic actions of different dynamical responses. J. Meteor. Res., 31(1), 61–72, doi: 10.1007/s13351-016-6046-6. 


Huo, W., and Xiao, Z. (2016). The impact of solar activity on the 2015/16 El Niño event. Atmos. Oceanic Sci. Lett., 9, 428-435, doi: 10.1080/16742834.2016.1231567.


Xiao, Z., Liao, Y., and Li, C. (2016). Possible impact of solar activity on the convection dipole over the tropical pacific ocean. J. Atmos. Sol.-Terr. Phys., 140, 94-107, doi: 10.1016/j.jastp.2016.02.008.  


Xiao, Z. and Li, D. (2016). Solar wind: A possible factor driving the interannual sea surface temperature tripolar mode over North Atlantic. J. Meteor. Res., 30, 312-327, doi: 10.1007/s13351-016-5087-1.  


Zhou, L., Tinsley, B., and Huang, J. (2014). Effects on winter circulation of short and long term solar wind changes. J. Adv. Space Res., 54, 2478-2490, doi: 10.1016/j.jastp.2016.02.010. 



Contact: XIAO Ziniu,  

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