Solar Physics

, Volume 224, Issue 1–2, pp 37–47 | Cite as

Long-Term Solar Activity: Direct and Indirect Study

  • I. G. UsoskinEmail author
  • G. A. Kovaltsov


The series of directly observed sunspot numbers is nearly 400 years long. We stress that the recently compiled group sunspot number series is an upgrade of the old Wolf series and should always be used before 1850. The behavior of solar activity on longer time scales can be studied only using indirect proxies. Such proxies as aurorae occurrence or naked-eye sunspot observations are qualitative indicators of solar activity but can be hardly quantitatively interpreted. Cosmogenic isotope records provide a basis for quantitative estimate of the past solar activity. Here we overview the main methods of the long-term solar activity reconstruction on the centennial to multimillennia time scale. We discuss that regression-based reconstructions of solar activity lead to very uncertain results, while recently developed physics-based models raise solar activity reconstruction to a new level and allow studying its behavior on a multimillennia time scale. In particular, the reconstructions show that the recent episode of high solar activity is quite unusual in the multimillennia time scale.


Solar Activity Sunspot Number Group Sunspot High Solar Activity Recent Episode 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory (Oulu unit)University of OuluFinland
  2. 2.Ioffe Physical-Technical InstituteSt. PetersburgRussia

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