The Smithsonian solar constant data revisited: no evidence for a strong effect of solar activity in ground-based insolation data
Abstract. Apparent evidence for a strong signature of solar activity in ground-based insolation data was recently reported. In particular, a strong increase of the irradiance of the direct solar beam with sunspot number as well as a decline of the brightness of the solar aureole and the measured precipitable water content of the atmosphere with solar activity were presented. The latter effect was interpreted as evidence for cosmic-ray-induced aerosol formation. Here I show that these spurious results are due to a failure to correct for seasonal variations and the effects of volcanic eruptions and local pollution in the data. After correcting for these biases, neither the atmospheric water content nor the brightness of the solar aureole show any significant change with solar activity, and the variations of the solar-beam irradiance with sunspot number are in agreement with previous estimates. Hence there is no evidence for the influence of solar activity on the climate being stronger than currently thought.