EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 452, Number 2, June III 2006
Page(s) 631 - 639
Section The Sun
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20064809

A&A 452, 631-639 (2006)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20064809

Reconstruction of solar UV irradiance in cycle 23

N. A. Krivova1, S. K. Solanki1 and L. Floyd2

1  Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Max-Planck-Str. 2, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
    e-mail: natalie@mps.mpg.de
2  Interferometrics Inc., 13454 Sunrise Valley Drive, Herndon, VA 20171, USA
    e-mail: linton.floyd@nrl.navy.mil

(Received 4 January 2006 / Accepted 26 February 2006)

Solar irradiance variations show a strong wavelength dependence. Whereas the total solar irradiance varies by about 0.1% during the course of the solar cycle, variations at the wavelengths around the Ly-$\alpha$ emission line near 121.6 nm range up to 50-100%. These variations may have a significant impact on the Earth's climate system. Being almost completely absorbed in the upper atmosphere, solar UV radiation below 300 nm affects stratospheric chemistry and controls production and destruction of ozone. Models of the solar UV irradiance remain far from perfect, even though considerable progress has been made in modelling the irradiance variations longwards of about 200-300 nm. We show that after correcting for the exposure dependent degradation of the SUSIM channels sampling irradiance at $\lambda >240$ nm (making use of the Mg II core-to-wing ratio) the agreement between model and measurement is significantly improved. At shorter wavelengths the LTE approximation usually made in such models fails, which makes a reconstruction of the solar UV irradiance a rather intricate problem. We choose an alternative approach and use the observed SUSIM UV spectra to extrapolate available models to shorter wavelengths. The model reproduces observed solar cycle variations of the irradiance at wavelengths down to 115 nm and indicates an important role of UV irradiance variability: up to 60% of the total irradiance variations over the solar cycle might be produced at wavelengths below 400 nm.

Key words: Sun: activity -- Sun: faculae, plages -- Sun: magnetic fields -- solar-terrestrial relations -- sunspots -- Sun: UV radiation

© ESO 2006