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  • Articles  (47)
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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2017-01-05
    Description: Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2013. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 118 (2013): 9000–9010, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50692.
    Description: Tree rings are an important proxy for understanding the timing and environmental consequences of volcanic eruptions as they are precisely dated at annual resolution and, particularly in tree line regions of the world, sensitive to cold extremes that can result from climatically significant volcanic episodes. Volcanic signals have been detected in ring widths and by the presence of frost-damaged rings, yet are often most clearly and quantitatively represented within maximum latewood density series. Ring width and density reconstructions provide quantitative information for inferring the variability and sensitivity of the Earth's climate system on local to hemispheric scales. After a century of dendrochronological science, there is no evidence, as recently theorized, that volcanic or other adverse events cause such severely cold conditions near latitudinal tree line that rings might be missing in all trees at a given site in a volcanic year (“stand-wide” missing rings), resulting in misdating of the chronology. Rather, there is a clear indication of precise dating and development of rings in at least some trees at any given site, even under adverse cold conditions, based on both actual tree ring observations and modeling analyses. The muted evidence for volcanic cooling in large-scale temperature reconstructions based at least partly on ring widths reflects several factors that are completely unrelated to any misdating. These include biological persistence of such records, as well as varying spatial patterns of response of the climate system to volcanic events, such that regional cooling, particularly for ring widths rather than density, can be masked in the large-scale reconstruction average.
    Description: We thank the National Science Foundation for fundingmuch of the research presented herein. RW’s Scottish work is currently funded through the UK Leverhulme Trust and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) projects, “RELiC: Reconstructing 8000 years of Environmental and Landscape change in the Cairngorms (F/00 268/BG)” and “SCOT2K: Reconstructing 2000 years of Scottish climate from tree rings (NE/K003097/1).”
    Description: 2014-02-29
    Keywords: Volcanism ; Dendrochronology ; Maximum latewood density ; Tree rings ; Cross-dating ; Temperature reconstructions
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
    Format: application/pdf
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  • 2
  • 3
    Publication Date: 2013-02-01
    Description: We present an annually resolved reconstruction of spring-summer precipitation variability in East Anglia, UK (52–53°N, 0–2°E) for the period AD 900–2009. A continuous regional network of 723 living (AD 1590–2009) and historical (AD 781–1790) oak ( Quercus sp.) ring-width series has been constructed and shown to display significant sensitivity to precipitation variability during the March-July season. The existence of a coherent common growth signal is demonstrated in oaks growing across East Anglia, containing evidence of near-decadal aperiodic variability in precipitation throughout the last millennium. Positive correlations are established between oak growth and precipitation variability across a large region of northwest Europe, although climate-growth relationships appear time transgressive with correlations significantly weakening during the early twentieth century. Examination of the relationship between oak growth, precipitation, and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), reveals no evidence that the NAO plays any significant role in the control of precipitation or tree growth in this region. Using Regional Curve Standardisation to preserve evidence of low-frequency growth variability in the East Anglian oak chronology, we produce a millennial length reconstruction that is capable of explaining 32–35% of annual-to-decadal regional-scale precipitation variance during 1901–2009. The full length reconstruction indicates statistically significant anomalous dry conditions during AD 900–1100 and circa-1800. An apparent prolonged wetter phase is estimated for the twelfth and thirteen centuries, whilst precipitation fluctuates between wetter and drier phases at near centennial timescales throughout the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries. Above average precipitation reconstructed for the twenty-first century is comparable with that reproduced for the 1600s. The main estimated wet and dry phases reconstructed here appear largely coherent with an independent tree-ring reconstruction for southern-central England. ©2012 Springer-Verlag
    Print ISSN: 0930-7575
    Electronic ISSN: 1432-0894
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2013-02-01
    Description: We present a millennial long dendroclimatic reconstruction of spring/summer precipitation for southern-central England. Previous research identified a significant moisture stress signal in ring-width data measured from oak trees growing in southern England. In this study, we build upon this earlier work, specifically targeting south-central England, to derive a well replicated oak ring-width composite chronology using both living and historical material. The data-set includes 352 living trees (AD 1629–2009) and 1540 individual historical series (AD 663–1925). The period expressed by at least 50 trees in any year is AD 980–2009. Calibration experiments identify the optimal seasonal predictand target as March–July precipitation (1901–2007: r2 = 0.33). However, comparison with the long Kew Gardens precipitation record indicates a weakening in tree-growth/climate response from ~1800 to 1920 which we speculate may be related to smoke and sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions at that time which may have also contributed to a decrease in tree productivity. The time-series derived using the regional curve standardisation method to capture lower frequency information shows a mediaeval period with alternating multi-decade-long dry and wet periods, with AD 1153–1172 being the wettest reconstructed 20-year period in the whole record. Drier conditions are prevalent from ~1300 to the early sixteenth century followed by a period of increasing precipitation levels. The most recent four centuries of the record appear similar to the mediaeval period with multiple decade-long dry and wet periods. The late twentieth century is the second reconstructed wettest period. These centennial hydroclimatic trends are in broad agreement with independent regional scale hydroclimatic reconstructions from tree-ring (East Anglia), historical, speleothem and peat water level proxy archives in the United Kingdom and appear coupled with reconstructed sea surface temperature changes in the North Atlantic which in turn influence the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation and westerly airflow across the UK. ©2012 Springer-Verlag
    Print ISSN: 0930-7575
    Electronic ISSN: 1432-0894
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2007-03-01
    Description: The Gulf of Alaska (GOA) is highly sensitive to shifts in North Pacific climate variability. Here we present an extended tree-ring record of January–September GOA coastal surface air temperatures using tree-ring width data from coniferous trees growing in the mountain ranges along the GOA. The reconstruction (1514–1999), based on living trees, explains 44% of the temperature variance, although, as the number of chronologies decreases back in time, this value decreases to, and remains around ∼30% before 1840. Verification of the calibrated models is, however, robust. Utilizing sub-fossil wood, we extend the GOA reconstruction back to the early eighth century. The GOA reconstruction correlates significantly (95% CL) with both the Pacific Decadal Oscillation Index (0.53) and North Pacific Index (−0.42) and therefore likely yields important information on past climate variability in the North Pacific region. Intervention analysis on the GOA reconstruction identifies the known twentieth century climate shifts around the 1940s and 1970s, although the mid-1920s shift is only weakly expressed. In the context of the full 1,300 years record, the well studied 1976 shift is not unique. Multi-taper method spectral analysis shows that the spectral properties of the living and sub-fossil data are similar, with both records showing significant (95% CL) spectral peaks at ∼9–11, 13–14 and 18–19 years. Singular spectrum analysis identifies (in order of importance) significant oscillatory modes at 18.7, 50.4, 38.0, 91.8, 24.4, 15.3 and 14.1 years. The amplitude of these modes varies through time. It has been suggested (Minobe in Geophys Res Lett 26:855–858, 1999 ) that the regime shifts during the twentieth century can be explained by the interaction between pentadecadal (50.4 years) and bidecadal (18.7 years) oscillatory modes. Removal of these two modes of variance from our GOA time series does indeed remove the twentieth century shifts, but many are still identified prior to the twentieth century. Our analysis suggests that climate variability of the GOA is very complex, and that much more work is required to understand the underlying oscillatory behavior that is observed in instrumental and proxy records from the North Pacific region. ©2006 Springer-Verlag
    Print ISSN: 0930-7575
    Electronic ISSN: 1432-0894
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2005-02-01
    Description: We describe a new tree-ring width data set of 14 white spruce chronologies for the Seward Peninsula (SP), Alaska, based on living and subfossil wood dating from 1358 to 2001 AD . A composite chronology derived from these data correlates positively and significantly with summer temperatures at Nome from 1910 to 1970, after which there is some loss of positive temperature response. There is inferred cooling during periods within the Little Ice Age (LIA) from the early to middle 1600s and late 1700s to middle 1800s; and warming from the middle 1600s to early 1700s. We also present a larger composite data set covering 978–2001 AD , utilizing the SP ring-width data in combination with archaeological wood measurements and other recent collections from northwestern Alaska. The Regional Curve Standardization (RCS) method was employed to maximize potential low-frequency information in this data set. The RCS chronology shows intervals of persistent above-average growth around the time of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) early in the millennium, which are comparable to growth levels in recent centuries. There is a more sustained cold interval during the LIA inferred from the RCS record as compared to the SP ring-width series. The chronologies correlate significantly with Bering and Chukchi Sea sea surface temperatures and with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation index. These atmosphere–ocean linkages probably account for the differences between these records and large-scale reconstructions of Arctic and Northern Hemisphere temperatures based largely on continental interior proxy data. ©2005 Springer-Verlag
    Print ISSN: 0930-7575
    Electronic ISSN: 1432-0894
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2010-07-01
    Description: Monthly temperature series for Central Europe back to AD 1500 are developed from documentary index series from Germany, Switzerland and the Czech Republic (1500–1854) and 11 instrumental temperature records (1760–2007). Documentary evidence from the Low Countries, the Carpathian Basin and Poland are used for cross-checking for earlier centuries. The instrumental station records are corrected for inhomogeneities, including insufficient radiation protection of early thermometers and the urban heat island effect. For overlapping period (1760–1854), the documentary data series correlate with instrumental temperatures, most strongly in winter (86% explained variance in January) and least in autumn (56% in September). For annual average temperatures, 81% of the variance is explained. Verification statistics indicate high reconstruction skill for most months and seasons. The last 20 years (since 1988) stand out as very likely the warmest 20-year period, accounting for the calibration uncertainty and decreases in proxy data quality before the calibration period. The new reconstruction displays a previously unobserved long-term decrease in DJF, MAM and JJA temperature variability over last five centuries. Compiled monthly, seasonal and annual series can be used to improve the robustness of gridded large-scale European temperature reconstructions and possible impact studies. Further improvement of the reconstruction would be achieved if documentary data from other European countries are further developed. ©2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
    Print ISSN: 0165-0009
    Electronic ISSN: 1573-1480
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2010-07-01
    Description: Historical documentary sources, reflecting different port activities in Stockholm, are utilised to derive a 500-year winter/spring temperature reconstruction for the region. These documentary sources reflect sea ice conditions in the harbour inlet and those series that overlap with the instrumental data correlate well with winter/spring temperatures. By refining dendroclimatological methods, the time-series were composited to a mean series and calibrated (1756–1841; r 2 = 66%) against Stockholm January–April temperatures. Strong verification was confirmed (1842–1892; r 2 = 60%; RE/CE = 0.55). By including the instrumental data, the quantified (QUAN) reconstruction indicates that recent two decades have been the warmest period for the last 500 years. Coldest conditions occurred during the 16th/17th and early 19th centuries. An independent qualitative (QUAL) historical index was also derived for the Stockholm region. Comparison between QUAN and QUAL shows good coherence at inter-annual time-scales, but QUAL distinctly appears to lack low frequency information. Comparison is also made to other winter temperature based annually resolved records for the Baltic region. Between proxy coherence is generally good although it decreases going back in time with the 1500–1550 period being the weakest period—possibly reflecting data quality issues in the different reconstructions. ©2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
    Print ISSN: 0165-0009
    Electronic ISSN: 1573-1480
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2010-07-01
    Description: Two European temperature reconstructions for the past half-millennium, January-to-April air temperature for Stockholm (Sweden) and seasonal temperature for a Central European region, both derived from the analysis of documentary sources and long instrumental records, are compared with the output of climate simulations with the model ECHO-G. The analysis is complemented by comparisons with the long (early)-instrumental record of Central England Temperature (CET). Both approaches to study past climates (simulations and reconstructions) are burdened with uncertainties. The main objective of this comparative analysis is to identify robust features and weaknesses in each method which may help to improve models and reconstruction methods. The results indicate a general agreement between simulations obtained with temporally changing external forcings and the reconstructed Stockholm and CET records for the multi-centennial temperature trend over the recent centuries, which is not reproduced in a control simulation. This trend is likely due to the long-term change in external forcing. Additionally, the Stockholm reconstruction and the CET record also show a clear multi-decadal warm episode peaking around AD 1730, which is absent in the simulations. Neither the reconstruction uncertainties nor the model internal climate variability can easily explain this difference. Regarding the interannual variability, the Stockholm series displays, in some periods, higher amplitudes than the simulations but these differences are within the statistical uncertainty and further decrease if output from a regional model driven by the global model is used. The long-term trend of the CET series agrees less well with the simulations. The reconstructed temperature displays, for all seasons, a smaller difference between the present climate and past centuries than is seen in the simulations. Possible reasons for these differences may be related to a limitation of the traditional ‘indexing’ technique for converting documentary evidence to temperature values to capture long-term climate changes, because the documents often reflect temperatures relative to the contemporary authors’ own perception of what constituted ‘normal’ conditions. By contrast, the amplitude of the simulated and reconstructed inter-annual variability agrees rather well. ©2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
    Print ISSN: 0165-0009
    Electronic ISSN: 1573-1480
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2005-12-01
    Print ISSN: 0894-8755
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-0442
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences , Physics
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