Monday 7 May 2012

A Grand Solar Minimum and The Building of Stonehenge

An interesting report of a new scientific paper. 

Climatic effects of a solar minimum: Grand solar minimum and climate response recorded for first time in same climate archive 

 An abrupt cooling in Europe together with an increase in humidity and particularly in windiness coincided with a sustained reduction in solar activity 2800 years ago. Scientists from the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ in collaboration with Swedish and Dutch colleagues provide evidence for a direct solar-climate linkage on centennial timescales. Using the most modern methodological approach, they analysed sediments from Lake Meerfelder Maar, a maar lake in the Eifel/Germany, to determine annual variations in climate proxies and solar activity.

 (Click for larger)

The study published online this week in Nature Geoscience reports the climatic change that occurred at the beginning of the pre-Roman Iron Age and demonstrates that especially the so-called Grand Minima of solar activity can affect climate conditions in western Europe through changes in regional atmospheric circulation pattern. Around 2800 years ago, one of these Grand Solar Minima, the Homeric Minimum, caused a distinct climatic change in less than a decade in Western Europe.The exceptional seasonally laminated sediments from the studied maar lake allow a precise dating even of short-term climate changes. The results show for a 200 year long period strongly increased springtime winds during a period of cool and wet climate in Europe. 

Now click on the graph - you will see the signature dip of the Homeric Minimum, and now look at around 2900 BC. The same dip in the Heliospheric Magnetic Field. Does this imply another rapid climate change at the time Stonehenge was being built?
Did the climate turn nasty so they built a temple? Or did they have to abandon building when the weather turned horrible year after year? Or was there no change in the climate on Salisbury Plain?


  1. It's a very interesting graph, but where does it come from? (It's not in the link you cited)



  2. Jon Well spotted, going back through my history it looks like it came from I know I looked up the story on several sources to research it and That link seems to have the same graph.


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