Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 February 2010
We have examined the variation of carbon-14 content in annual tree rings, and investigated the transitions of the characteristics of the Schwabe/Hale (11-year/22-year) solar and cosmic-ray cycles during the last 1200 years, focusing mainly on the Maunder and Spoerer minima and the early Medieval Maximum Period. It has been revealed that the mean length of the Schwabe/Hale cycles changes associated with the centennial-scale variation of solar activity level. The mean length of Schwabe cycle had been ~14 years during the Maunder Minimum, while it was ~9 years during the early Medieval Maximum Period. We have also found that climate proxy record shows cyclic variations similar to stretching/shortening Schwabe/Hale solar cycles in time, suggesting that both Schwabe and Hale solar cycles are playing important role in climate change. In this paper, we review the nature of Schwabe and Hale cycles of solar activity and cosmic-ray flux during the Maunder Minimum and their possible influence on climate change. We suggest that the Hale cycle of cosmic rays are amplified during the grand solar minima and thus the influence of cosmic rays on climate change is prominently recognizable during such periods.