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Do Satellites Detect Trends in Surface Solar Radiation?
R. T. Pinker,1B. Zhang,2E. G. Dutton3
Long-term variations in solar radiation at Earth's surface (S)can affect our climate, the hydrological cycle, plant photosynthesis,and solar power. Sustained decreases in S have been widely reportedfrom about the year 1960 to 1990. Here we present an estimateof global temporal variations in S by using the longest availablesatellite record. We observed an overall increase in S from1983 to 2001 at a rate of 0.16 watts per square meter (0.10%)per year; this change is a combination of a decrease until about1990, followed by a sustained increase. The global-scale findingsare consistent with recent independent satellite observationsbut differ in sign and magnitude from previously reported groundobservations. Unlike ground stations, satellites can uniformlysample the entire globe.
1 Department of Meteorology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA. 2 Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA. 3 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory (NOAA/CMDL), Code R/CMDL1, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305, USA.
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