University of Otago
It is important to understand the response of all regions above the Earth to climate change in order to improve our modelling and prediction capabilities. This should include consideration of the contribution of solar input and its variability through the transmission of solar energy from the Earth's upstream region to the lower atmosphere.
This project provides a better understanding of the volatility of near-Earth space, a plasma region populated by ionised gas embedded in the geomagnetic field.
One example of the solar variability to lower atmosphere linkage comes from solar-induced energetic particle precipitation leading to ozone losses in the upper stratosphere; experimental observations show increased ozone losses occurring during the polar winter and caused by solar-generated events, particularly dramatic explosions on the Sun and aurora producing geomagnetic. This variability may contribute to the recovery times of the man-made ozone hole. Polar ozone depletion has a key influence on the global climate system, directly impacting on NZ both through changes in local ultraviolet (UV) levels and producing regional climate variability.