The sun found to vary in unexpected ways


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Recent monitoring of the Sun’s brightness as it went from maximum to minimum in its solar cycle has found that, surprisingly, the changes in brightness across different wavelengths do not necessarily vary in lockstep. Key quote:

SIM suggests that ultraviolet irradiance fell far more than expected between 2004 and 2007 — by ten times as much as the total irradiance did — while irradiance in certain visible and infrared wavelengths surprisingly increased, even as solar activity wound down overall. The steep decrease in the ultraviolet, coupled with the increase in the visible and infrared, does even out to about the same total irradiance change as measured by the TIM during that period, according to the SIM measurements.

The stratosphere absorbs most of the shorter wavelengths of ultraviolet light, but some of the longest ultraviolet rays (UV-A), as well as much of the visible and infrared portions of the spectrum, directly heat Earth’s lower atmosphere and can have a significant impact on the climate. [emphasis mine]

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