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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 6, issue 6
Clim. Past, 6, 745–758, 2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Clim. Past, 6, 745–758, 2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  12 Nov 2010

12 Nov 2010

A critical look at solar-climate relationships from long temperature series

B. Legras1, O. Mestre2, E. Bard3, and P. Yiou4 B. Legras et al.
  • 1Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, UMR 8539, IPSL, CNRS/ENS/UPMC/Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France
  • 2Ecole Nationale de la Météorologie, Météo France, and Institut de Mathématiques de Toulouse, Toulouse, France
  • 3CEREGE, UMR 6635, CNRS/Université Aix-Marseille/IRD/Collège de France, Aix-en-Provence, France
  • 4Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, UMR 8212, IPSL, CEA/CNRS/UVSQ, Gif-sur-Yvette, France

Abstract. A key issue of climate change is to identify the forcings and their relative contributions. The solar-climate relationship is currently the matter of a fierce debate. We address here the need for high quality observations and an adequate statistical approach. A recent work by Le Mouël et al. (2010) and its companion paper by Kossobokov et al. (2010) show spectacular correlations between solar activity and temperature series from three European weather stations over the last two centuries. We question both the data and the method used in these works. We stress (1) that correlation with solar forcing alone is meaningless unless other forcings are properly accounted for and that sunspot counting is a poor indicator of solar irradiance, (2) that long temperature series require homogenization to remove historical artefacts that affect long term variability, (3) that incorrect application of statistical tests leads to interpret as significant a signal which arises from pure random fluctuations. As a consequence, we reject the results and the conclusions of Le Mouël et al. (2010) and Kossobokov et al. (2010). We believe that our contribution bears some general interest in removing confusion from the scientific debate.

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