Solar activity during the last 1000 yr inferred from radionuclide records
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Identification of the causes of past climate change requires detailed knowledge of one of the most important natural factors-solar forcing. Prior to the period of direct solar observations, radionuclide abundances in natural archives provide the best-known proxies for changes in solar activity. Here we present two independent reconstructions of changes in solar activity during the last 1000 yr, which are inferred from Be-10 and C-14 records. We analyse the tree-ring C-14 data (SHCal, IntCa104 from 1000 to 1510 AD and annual data from 1511 to 1950 AD) and four Be-10 records from Greenland ice cores (Camp Century, GRIP, Milcent and Dye3) together with two Be-10 records from Antarctic ice cores (Dome Concordia and South Pole). In general, the Be-10 and C-14 records exhibit good agreement that allows us to obtain reliable estimates of past solar magnetic modulation of the radionuclide production rates. Differences between Be-10 records from Antarctica and Greenland indicate that climatic changes have influenced the deposition of Be-10 during some periods of the last 1000 yr. The radionuclide-based reconstructions of past changes in solar activity do not always agree with the sunspot record, which indicates that the coupling between those proxies is not as close as has been sometimes assumed. The tree-ring C-14 record and Be-10 from Antarctica indicate that recent solar activity is high but not exceptional with respect to the last 1000 yr. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.