Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Annual Northern Hemisphere surface temperature departures for the past 300 yr were reconstructed using eleven tree-ring chronologies from high-latitude, boreal sites in Canada and Alaska, spanning over 90 degrees of longitude. This geographic coverage is believed to be adequate for a useful representation of hemispheric-scale temperature trends, as high northern latitudes are particularly sensitive to climatic change. We also present a reconstruction of Arctic annual temperatures. The reconstructions show a partial amelioration of the Little Ice Age after the early 1700's, an abrupt, severe renewal of cold in the early 1800's and a prolonged wanning since approximately 1840. These trends are supported by other proxy data. Similarities and differences between our Northern Hemisphere reconstruction and other large-scale proxy temperature records depend on such factors as the data sources, methods, and degree of spatial representation. Analyses of additional temperature records, as they become available, are needed to determine the degree to which each series represents fluctuations for the entire hemisphere. There appear to be relationships between trends observed in our Northern Hemisphere reconstruction and certain climatic forcing functions, including solar fluctuations, volcanic activity and atmospheric CO2. In particular, our reconstruction supports the hypothesis that the global warming trend over the past century of increasing atmospheric CO2 has exceeded the recent level of natural variability of the climate system.
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