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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 04 Apr 2019

Submitted as: research article | 04 Apr 2019

Review status
A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Differing pre-industrial cooling trends between tree-rings and lower-resolution temperature proxies

Lara Klippel1, Scott St. George2, Ulf Büntgen3,4,5, Paul J. Krusic3,6,7, and Jan Esper1,7 Lara Klippel et al.
  • 1Department of Geography, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany
  • 2Department of Geography, Environment and Society, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  • 3Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • 4Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape (WSL), Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • 5Global Change Research Centre (Czech Globe) and Department of Geography, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
  • 6Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 7Navarino Environmental Observatory, Messinia, Greece

Abstract. The 692 proxy records of the new PAGES 2k compilation offer an unprecedented opportunity to study regional to global temperature trends associated with orbitally-driven changes in solar irradiance over the past two millennia. Here, we analyse the significance of long-term trends from 1–1800 CE in the PAGES 2k compilation’s tree-ring, ice core, marine and lake sediment records and find, unlike ice-cores, glacier dynamics, marine and lake sediments, no suggestion of a pre-industrial cooling trend in the tree-ring records. To understand why the tree-ring proxies lack a significant pre-industrial cooling, we divide the dendro data by location (high NH latitudes vs. mid latitudes), seasonal response (annual vs. summer), detrending method, and temperature sensitivity (high vs. low). We conclude the ability to detect any pre-industrial, millennial-long cooling in the tree-ring proxies does not increase with latitude, seasonal sensitivity, or detrending method. Consequently, caution is advised when using multi-proxy approaches to reconstruct long-term temperature changes.

Lara Klippel et al.

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Lara Klippel et al.

Lara Klippel et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The PAGES 2k multiproxy database offers a new and unique opportunity to study the lack of long-term cooling trends in tree-ring data which can be expected in Northern Hemisphere summers, particularly in the high latitudes, due to orbitally driven changes in solar irradiance. Tests of different influencing factors reveal that preserving millennial-scale cooling trends related to orbital forcing is not feasible in most tree-ring datasets.
The PAGES 2k multiproxy database offers a new and unique opportunity to study the lack of...