Articles | Volume 6, issue 5
08 Sep 2010
 | 08 Sep 2010

Statistical issues about solar–climate relations

P. Yiou, E. Bard, P. Dandin, B. Legras, P. Naveau, H. W. Rust, L. Terray, and M. Vrac

Abstract. The relationship between solar activity and temperature variation is a frequently discussed issue in climatology. This relationships is usually hypothesized on the basis of statistical analyses of temperature time series and time series related to solar activity. Recent studies (Le Mouël et al., 2008, 2009; Courtillot et al., 2010) focus on the variabilities of temperature and solar activity records to identify their relationships. We discuss the meaning of such analyses and propose a general framework to test the statistical significance for these variability-based analyses. This approach is illustrated using European temperature data sets and geomagnetic field variations. We show that tests for significant correlation between observed temperature variability and geomagnetic field variability is hindered by a low number of degrees of freedom introduced by excessively smoothing the variability-based statistics.