Correlation of spectral solar irradiance with solar activity as measured by VIRGO⋆
Physikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos,
World Radiation Center,
Received: 6 December 2012
Accepted: 1 July 2013
Context. The variability of solar spectral irradiance (SSI) over the rotational period and its trend over the solar activity cycle are important for understanding the Sun–Earth connection as well as for observational constraints for solar models. Recently the Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM) experiment on the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) has published an unexpected negative correlation with total solar irradiance (TSI) of the visible spectral range. It is compensated by a strong and positive variability of the near UV range.
Aims. We aim to verify whether the anti-correlated SIM-trend in the visible can be confirmed by independent observations of the Variability of solar IRadiance and Gravity Oscillations (VIRGO) experiment on the SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) satellite. The challenge of all space experiments measuring solar irradiance are sensitivity changes of their sensors due to exposure to intense UV radiation, which are difficult to assess in orbit.
Methods. We exclude the first six years prior to 2002 where one or more fast processes contributed to instrumental changes and analyse a ten-year timeseries of VIRGO sun photometer data between 2002 and 2012. The variability of SSI is correlated with the variability of the TSI, which is taken as a proxy for solar activity.
Results. Observational evidence indicates that after six years only one single long-term process governs the degradation of the backup sun photometer in VIRGO which is operated once a month. This degradation can be well approximated by a linear function over ten years. The analysis of the residuals from the linear trend yield robust positive correlations of spectral irradiance at 862, 500, and 402 nm with total irradiance. In the analysis of annual averages of these data the positive correlations change into weak negative correlations, but with little statistical significance for the 862 nm and 402 nm data. At 500 nm the annual spectral data are still positively correlated with TSI. The persisting positive correlation at 500 nm is in contradiction to the SIM results.
Key words: Sun: activity / solar-terrestrial relations / space vehicles / instrumentation: photometers
Appendix A is available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2013