COST Action ES1005

TOSCA - Towards a more complete assessment of the
impact of solar variability on the Earth’s climate


TOSCA in a nutshell

TOSCA stands for “Towards a more complete assessment of the impact of solar variability on the Earth’s climate”. This 4-year COST action started in June 2011 and presently involves 20 countries.

  1. BulletMemorandum of Understanding

  2. BulletOfficial website of TOSCA (at COST)

TOSCA is a European COST action linking scientists working on the influence of the Sun on the Earth’s climate. Based on present understanding, solar variability has a role in the observed climate change. This is a multidisciplinary topic of considerable scientific and societal importance. However, the mechanisms that link solar activity and climate change are not yet fully understood. TOSCA’s aim is to shed more light on the mechanisms involved.

Only an international network of scientists from multiple disciplines can address such a complex and hotly debated issue. The TOSCA network in particular aims at assessing the contributions of solar variability to the Earth’s climate by bringing together a range of disciplines such as solar physicists, space scientists, atmospheric scientists, climate modellers and paleo-climatologists. TOSCA will run from June 2011 until May 2015.

TOSCA offers expertise in the science and the modeling of solar radiative forcing, interplanetary perturbations, impact of energetic particles and lower atmospheric layers.

Four Working Groups will address respectively the impact of solar radiative forcing, interplanetary perturbations, and energetic particles upon the atmosphere, and the interfacing between upper and lower atmospheric layers and corresponding models. The deliverables include online tools such as a catalogue of proxy data for solar, interplanetary and energetic particle variability, a catalogue of models, best practices for validation, fact sheets for policy makers, and capacity building events for training young researchers.

The main benefits will be an authoritative source of information on the role of the Sun in global climate change, a significant enhancement of present knowledge and a long-term structural improvement in the interaction between scientific communities.

  1. BulletOutcomes of TOSCA

TOSCA will:

  1. Consolidate current knowledge of the Sun-climate connection into a format that is accessible both to the different communities that work on this topic, and to policy makers.

  2. Quantity the impact of solar variability on climate and identify gaps in our current knowledge.

  3. Provide a framework for making different communities meet, interact and work on common problems in a coordinated way.

  4. Develop tools for maintaining these interactions, such as an online catalogue of parameters describing various solar inputs, an online catalogue of models, statistical methods for evaluating the effects of various solar inputs on the atmosphere, the establishment of common standards for validating results, a common publishing platform, and more.

  5. Train young researchers who often have a fragmented view of the Sun-Earth system.


Organisation of TOSCA

TOSCA consists of 4 working groups, with one additional working group for outreach and dissemination.

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  1. BulletWG1 Climate impact of solar radiation

Chairs: Ilaria Ermolli (IT) and Eugene Rozanov (CH)

This WG has 5 work-packages

  1. WP1.1 Mechanisms for SSI variations

  2. WP1.2 Assessment of the long-term changes in the SSI and TSI

  3. WP1.3 Atmospheric impact of solar radiation in the UV, visible and infrared

  4. WP1.4 Definition of solar radiative inputs for climate modelling

  5. WP1.5 Methodologies and techniques for quantifying the signature of solar variability

  1. BulletWG2 Climate impact of interplanetary and near-Earth conditions and perturbations

Chairs: Kalevi Mursula (FIN) and Katya Georgieva (BU)

This WG has 5 work-packages

  1. WP2.1 Long-term changes in the interplanetary medium and near-Earth space environment

  2. WP2.2 Drivers and trends in the upper atmosphere

  3. WP2.3 Drivers of magnetospheric particle precipitation and of the global electric circuit, and the impacts on atmospheric ionisation, chemistry, transparency and dynamics, including aerosols and clouds

  4. WP2.4 Definition of interplanetary and near-Earth inputs for climate modelling

  5. WP2.5 Methodologies and techniques for quantifying the signature of solar variability

  1. BulletWG3 Climate impact of energetic particles

Chairs: Irina Mironova (RUS) and Yoav Yair (ISR)

This WG has 5 work-packages

  1. WP3.1 Long-term changes in solar and galactic cosmic particle fluxes

  2. WP3.2 Impact of solar and galactic particles on atmospheric ionisation and the global electric circuit

  3. WP3.3 Impact of solar and galactic particles on aerosol and cloud formation

  4. WP3.4 Definition of solar and galactic particle inputs for climate modelling

  5. WP3.5 Methodologies and techniques for quantifying the signature of solar variability

  1. BulletWG4 Model interfaces

Chairs: Hauke Schmidt (DE) and Kleareti Tourpali (GR)

This WG has 5 work-packages

  1. WP4.1 Particle effects on different layers in numerical models

  2. WP4.2 Chemical effects and chemical-transport effects between layers

  3. WP4.3 Electrical circuit effects linking atmospheric layers in models

  4. WP4.4 Large-scale dynamical phenomena and their effects on coupling between layers and different latitudes

  5. WP4.5 Small-scale dynamical phenomena and their resultant effects on coupling and transport.

  1. BulletWG on outreach and dissemination

Coordinator: Jean Lilensten (FR)
This WG, called GHOST, s not explicitly mentioned in the memorandum of understanding but, given its importance, will act just like one.

This WG has 7 work-packages

  1. WP 5.1: Internal communication: to organize the outputs of our scientific meetings.

  2. WP 5.2: External scientific communication: to organize sessions in other’s communities meetings.

  3. WP5.3: External communication: to organize scientific publications

  4. WP 5.4: External communication toward IPCC

  5. WP 5.5: External communication toward students

  6. WP 5.6: External communication toward journalists, teachers

  7. WP 5.7: External outreach communication