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The following was contributed by Drs. Joanna Haigh and Willam Ball, February, 2016:

The solar radiation arriving at Earth (once known as the “solar constant”, now usually referred to as Total Solar Irradiance (TSI), is the most fundamental of climate parameters as it indicates the totality of the energy driving the climate system.  All climate models need to prescribe a value for it, either explicitly or implicitly, but its measurement with the precision and stability needed for climate studies has proved challenging. 

Radiometric measurements

The first measurements of TSI using absolutely-calibrated radiometers were made from balloons and rockets from the late 1960s to mid-1970s.  Before then, measurements were made from the... Read More