Solar eclipse and screen temperatures

E. Linacre and B. Geerts


When a solar eclipse occurs around noon, it causes a dramatic change of the surface energy balance. The net radiation suddenly declines to small or even negative values, resulting in a drop of ground temperature, and to a lesser extent, a drop of air temperature. A 70 - 80% eclipse of the Sun at 35-46 N across the USA on 10/5/94 resulted in a temporary fall of observed screen temperatures by up to 6 K (1). A numerical simulation of the atmospheric boundary layer and land-air interaction shows good correspondence between observed and modeled cooling rates.

The solar eclipse of 1999 produced cooling of about 2.5 K in Europe.


(1) Segal, M., R.W. Turner, J. Prusa, R.J. Bitzer & S.V. Finley 1996: Solar eclipse effect on shelter air temperature. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 77, 89-99.