A reconstruction of radiocarbon production and total solar irradiance from the Holocene ¹⁴C and CO₂ records: implications of data and model uncertainties

Roth, Raphael; Joos, Fortunat (2013). A reconstruction of radiocarbon production and total solar irradiance from the Holocene ¹⁴C and CO₂ records: implications of data and model uncertainties. Climate of the past, 9(4), pp. 1879-1909. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/cp-9-1879-2013

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Radiocarbon production, solar activity, total solar irradiance (TSI) and solar-induced climate change are reconstructed for the Holocene (10 to 0 kyr BP), and TSI is predicted for the next centuries. The IntCal09/SHCal04 radiocarbon and ice core CO2 records, reconstructions of the geomagnetic dipole, and instrumental data of solar activity are applied in the Bern3D-LPJ, a fully featured Earth system model of intermediate complexity including a 3-D dynamic ocean, ocean sediments, and a dynamic vegetation model, and in formulations linking radiocarbon production, the solar modulation potential, and TSI. Uncertainties are assessed using Monte Carlo simulations and bounding scenarios. Transient climate simulations span the past 21 thousand years, thereby considering the time lags and uncertainties associated with the last glacial termination. Our carbon-cycle-based modern estimate of radiocarbon production of 1.7 atoms cm−2 s−1 is lower than previously reported for the cosmogenic nuclide production model by Masarik and Beer (2009) and is more in-line with Kovaltsov et al. (2012). In contrast to earlier studies, periods of high solar activity were quite common not only in recent millennia, but throughout the Holocene. Notable deviations compared to earlier reconstructions are also found on decadal to centennial timescales. We show that earlier Holocene reconstructions, not accounting for the interhemispheric gradients in radiocarbon, are biased low. Solar activity is during 28% of the time higher than the modern average (650 MeV), but the absolute values remain weakly constrained due to uncertainties in the normalisation of the solar modulation to instrumental data. A recently published solar activity–TSI relationship yields small changes in Holocene TSI of the order of 1 W m−2 with a Maunder Minimum irradiance reduction of 0.85 ± 0.16 W m−2. Related solar-induced variations in global mean surface air temperature are simulated to be within 0.1 K. Autoregressive modelling suggests a declining trend of solar activity in the 21st century towards average Holocene conditions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Roth, Raphael and Joos, Fortunat


500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Copernicus Publications




Doris Rätz

Date Deposited:

18 Aug 2014 10:22

Last Modified:

26 Jun 2016 01:50

Publisher DOI:






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