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How unusual is today's solar activity?

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Abstract

Arising from: S. K. Solanki, I. G. Usoskin, B. Kromer, M. Schüssler & J. Beer Nature 431, 1084–1087 (2004); Solanki et al. reply.

To put global warming into context requires knowledge about past changes in solar activity and the role of the Sun in climate change. Solanki et al.1 propose that solar activity during recent decades was exceptionally high compared with that over the preceding 8,000 years. However, our extended analysis of the radiocarbon record reveals several periods during past centuries in which the strength of the magnetic field in the solar wind was similar to, or even higher than, that of today.

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Figure 1: Measured atmospheric 14CO2:12CO2 and 13CO2:12CO2 ratios and model results for δ13C from AD 1500 to 1950.
Figure 2: Radiocarbon production rate and solar modulation parameter compared with the group sunspot number.

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Correspondence to Raimund Muscheler.

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Muscheler, R., Joos, F., Müller, S. et al. How unusual is today's solar activity?. Nature 436, E3–E4 (2005) doi:10.1038/nature04045

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