TEMPERATURE PROXY RECORDS COVERING THE LAST TWO MILLENNIA: A TABULAR AND VISUAL OVERVIEW

Authors


Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist, Department of History, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden. E-mail: fredrik.c.l@historia.su.se

ABSTRACT.

Proxy data are our only source of knowledge of temperature variability in the period prior to instrumental temperature measurements. Until recently, very few quantitative palaeotemperature records extended back a millennium or more, but the number is now increasing. Here, the first systematic survey is presented, with graphic representations, of most quantitative temperature proxy data records covering the last two millennia that have been published in the peer-reviewed literature. In total, 71 series are presented together with basic essential information on each record. This overview will hopefully assist future palaeoclimatic research by facilitating an orientation among available palaeotemperature records and thus reduce the risk of missing less well-known proxy series. The records show an amplitude between maximum and minimum temperatures during the past two millennia on centennial timescales ranging from c. 0.5 to 4°C and averaging c. 1.5–2°C for both high and low latitudes, although these variations are not always occurring synchronous. Both the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age and the 20th century warming are clearly visible in most records, whereas the Roman Warm Period and the Dark Age Cold Period are less clearly discernible.

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