Solar cycles or random processes? Evaluating solar variability in Holocene climate records

T. Edward Turner*, Graeme T. Swindles, Dan J. Charman, Peter G. Langdon, Paul J. Morris, Robert K. Booth, Lauren E. Parry, Jonathan E. Nichols

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)
    58 Downloads (Pure)


    Many studies have reported evidence for solar-forcing of Holocene climate change across a range of archives. These studies have compared proxy-climate data with records of solar variability (e.g. 14C or 10Be), or have used time series analysis to test for the presence of solar-type cycles. This has led to some climate sceptics misrepresenting this literature to argue strongly that solar variability drove the rapid global temperature increase of the twentieth century. As proxy records underpin our understanding of the long-term processes governing climate, they need to be evaluated thoroughly. The peatland archive has become a prominent line of evidence for solar forcing of climate. Here we examine high-resolution peatland proxy climate data to determine whether solar signals are present. We find a wide range of significant periodicities similar to those in records of solar variability: periods between 40-100 years, and 120-140 years are particularly common. However, periodicities similar to those in the data are commonly found in random-walk simulations. Our results demonstrate that solar-type signals can be the product of random variations alone, and that a more critical approach is required for their robust interpretation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number23961
    Number of pages15
    JournalScientific Reports
    Publication statusPublished - 05 Apr 2016

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General


    Dive into the research topics of 'Solar cycles or random processes? Evaluating solar variability in Holocene climate records'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this