Reconstruction of solar activity in the past using cosmogenic radiocarbon

Physics

Scientific paper

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1616 Climate Variability (1635, 3305, 3309, 4215, 4513), 1650 Solar Variability (7537), 2104 Cosmic Rays, 4918 Cosmogenic Isotopes (1150), 7536 Solar Activity Cycle (2162)

Scientific paper

The production rate of radiocarbon in the atmosphere is dominated by the state of the magnetic activity of the Sun, since radiocarbon is mainly produced by the incoming galactic cosmic rays modulated by solar wind and the interplanetary magnetic field in the heliosphere. By analyzing the radiocarbon contents in sequentially stratified layers of natural materials such as tree-rings, we are able to reconstruct the variations of solar magnetic activity in the past. By combining the radiocarbon records obtained using several old trees, the aspect of long-term variability of solar activity back to more than ~10,000 years has been investigated so far. Although the variability of carbon cycle due to possible climate change, which could also affect the radiocarbon content in tree-rings, is not fully understood, the records of radiocarbon provide the information of solar variations including the multi- decadal, multi-centennial and multi-millennial solar cycles as well as the 11-year solar cycle and their variance in the pre-historical periods. The knowledge of the variations of solar activity obtainable with radiocarbon is useful not only for understanding solar dynamo mechanism but also for determining the extent of the influence of the Sun on climate change. In this paper, I review the results, problems and future prospects of the investigations using radiocarbon.

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