Climate Variability and the Influence of the Sun

Science  07 Dec 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5549, pp. 2109-2111
DOI: 10.1126/science.1067013

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Recent studies show that small variations in the Sun's radiative output have an influence on Earth's climate. However, as Haigh points out in her Perspective, evidence for such an influence is difficult to obtain and mechanisms by which the solar signal might be amplified remain uncertain. She highlights the reports by Bond et al., who show that millennial-scale climate fluctuations in the Atlantic bear a solar signal, and by Shindell et al., who show that the climatic response to the Maunder Minimum, a period with low solar activity, in their model matches observations. The two studies also provide some clues to the mechanism of amplification.