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The Sun and the Earth's climate


Room A003, Ellison Building, Northumbria University, Newcastle.

We have been invited by the Institute of Physics to join them for this lecture about how changes in the Sun affect the Earth’s climate and the implications for climate change.

In the late 1970s it was established that the Sun’s energy output varies alongside other measures of activity such as sunspots – and thus the ‘solar constant’ isn’t constant. Over the most recent sunspot cycle, satellite measurements have shown unpredicted large variations at ultraviolet wavelengths. These have interesting implications for solar effects on the stratosphere and for the mechanisms involved in Sun-climate links.

Joanna Haigh is Professor of Atmospheric Physics and co-Director of the Grantham Institute (Climate Change and the Environment) at Imperial College London. She has been fascinated by weather since childhood and she has been lucky enough to follow a career in meteorology. Her particular expertise is in how solar radiation and heat interact with the atmosphere, how these processes are represented in climate models and the physics of climate change.