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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Eleven-year solar cycles over the last millennium revealed by radiocarbon in tree rings
Author(s): Brehm, Nicolas
Bayliss, Alex
Christl, Marcus
Synal, Hans-Arno
Adolphi, Florian
Beer, Jurg
Kromer, Bernd
Muscheler, Raimund
Solanki, Sami
Usoskin, Ilya
Bleicher, Niels
Bollhalder, Silvia
Tyers, Cathy
Wacker, Lukas
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Keywords: Geochemistry
Solar physics
Issue Date: Jan-2021
Citation: Brehm N, Bayliss A, Christl M, Synal H, Adolphi F, Beer J, Kromer B, Muscheler R, Solanki S, Usoskin I, Bleicher N, Bollhalder S, Tyers C & Wacker L (2021) Eleven-year solar cycles over the last millennium revealed by radiocarbon in tree rings. Nature Geoscience, 14 (1), pp. 10-15.
Abstract: The Sun provides the principal energy input into the Earth system and solar variability represents a significant external climate forcing. Although observations of solar activity (sunspots) cover only the last about 400 years, radionuclides produced by cosmic rays and stored in tree rings or ice cores serve as proxies for solar activity extending back thousands of years. However, the presence of weather-induced noise or low temporal resolution of long, precisely dated records hampers cosmogenic nuclide-based studies of short-term solar variability such as the 11-yr Schwabe cycle. Here we present a continuous, annually resolved atmospheric 14C concentration (fractionation-corrected ratio of 14CO2 to CO2) record reconstructed from absolutely dated tree rings covering nearly all of the last millennium (AD 969–1933). The high-resolution and precision 14C record reveals the presence of the Schwabe cycle over the entire time range. The record confirms the AD 993 solar energetic particle event and reveals two new candidates (AD 1052 and AD 1279), indicating that strong solar events that might be harmful to modern electronic systems probably occur more frequently than previously thought. In addition to showing decadal-scale solar variability over the last millennium, the high-temporal-resolution record of atmospheric radiocarbon also provides a useful benchmark for making radiocarbon dating more accurate over this interval.
DOI Link: 10.1038/s41561-020-00674-0
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