Thursday, 25 October 2007

Solar radiation and global warming

The climate change being recorded around the Earth is down to human activity, most scientists accept. But there are other potential contributors to global warming, including the sun.

Even a small increase in solar radiation could have an impact on the rate of warming, suggests the professor of atmospheric physics at Imperial College London, Prof Joanna Haigh.

Haigh is an expert in radiative transfer in the Earth's atmosphere. She studies how gases and clouds in the atmosphere absorb and scatter radiation from the sun and also thermal radiation.
"A fundamental understanding of these mechanisms is important because the Earth's climate depends on a balance between incoming solar and outgoing thermal radiation," Haigh writes.
"In order to predict possible changes in the climate we need to assess its response to any imposed radiative imbalance.