Sun and planets from a climate point of view

Beer, J. ; Abreu, J. A. ; Steinhilber, F.

In: Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union, 2008, vol. 4, no. S257, p. 29-43

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    The Sun plays a dominant role as the gravity centre and the energy source of a planetary system. A simple estimate shows that it is mainly the distance from the Sun that determines the climate of a planet. The solar electromagnetic radiation received by a planet is very unevenly distributed on the dayside of the planet. The climate tries to equilibrate the system by transporting energy through the atmosphere and the oceans provided they exist. These quasi steady state conditions are continuously disturbed by a variety of processes and effects. Potential causes of disturbance on the Sun are the energy generation in the core, the energy transport trough the convection zone, and the energy emission from the photosphere. Well understood are the effects of the orbital parameters responsible for the total amount of solar power received by a planet and its relative distribution on the planet's surface. On a planet, many factors determine how much of the arriving energy enters the climate system and how it is distributed and ultimately reemitted back into space. On Earth, there is growing evidence that in the past solar variability played a significant role in climate change