A 1500-year reconstruction of annual mean temperature for temperate North America on decadal-to-multidecadal time scales

V. Trouet, H. F. Diaz, E. R. Wahl, A. E. Viau, R. Graham, N. Graham, E. R. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present two reconstructions of annual average temperature over temperate North America: a tree-ring based reconstruction at decadal resolution (1200-1980 CE) and a pollen-based reconstruction at 30 year resolution that extends back to 480 CE. We maximized reconstruction length by using long but low-resolution pollen records and applied a three-tier calibration scheme for this purpose. The tree-ring-based reconstruction was calibrated against instrumental annual average temperatures on annual and decadal scale, it was then reduced to a lower resolution, and was used as a calibration target for the pollen-based reconstruction. Before the late-19th to the early-21st century, there are three prominent low-frequency periods in our extended reconstruction starting at 480 CE, notably the Dark Ages cool period (about 500-700 CE) and Little Ice Age (about 1200-1900 CE), and the warmer medieval climate anomaly (MCA; about 750-1100 CE). The 9th and the 11th century are the warmest centuries and they constitute the core of the MCA in our reconstruction, a period characterized by centennial-scale aridity in the North American West. These two warm peaks are slightly warmer than the baseline period (1904-1980), but nevertheless much cooler than temperate North American temperatures during the early-21st century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number024008
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2013

Keywords

  • Little Ice Age
  • North America
  • medieval climate anomaly
  • pollen
  • temperature
  • tree ring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A 1500-year reconstruction of annual mean temperature for temperate North America on decadal-to-multidecadal time scales'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this