Spectral biases in tree-ring climate proxies

Franke, Jörg; Frank, David; Raible, Christoph; Esper, Jan; Brönnimann, Stefan (2013). Spectral biases in tree-ring climate proxies. Nature climate change, 3(4), pp. 360-364. Nature Publishing Group 10.1038/nclimate1816

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External forcing and internal dynamics result in climate system variability ranging from sub-daily weather to multi-centennial trends and beyond1, 2. State-of-the-art palaeoclimatic methods routinely use hydroclimatic proxies to reconstruct temperature (for example, refs 3, 4), possibly blurring differences in the variability continuum of temperature and precipitation before the instrumental period. Here, we assess the spectral characteristics of temperature and precipitation fluctuations in observations, model simulations and proxy records across the globe. We find that whereas an ensemble of different general circulation models represents patterns captured in instrumental measurements, such as land–ocean contrasts and enhanced low-frequency tropical variability, the tree-ring-dominated proxy collection does not. The observed dominance of inter-annual precipitation fluctuations is not reflected in the annually resolved hydroclimatic proxy records. Likewise, temperature-sensitive proxies overestimate, on average, the ratio of low- to high-frequency variability. These spectral biases in the proxy records seem to propagate into multi-proxy climate reconstructions for which we observe an overestimation of low-frequency signals. Thus, a proper representation of the high- to low-frequency spectrum in proxy records is needed to reduce uncertainties in climate reconstruction efforts.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Climatology
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Franke, Jörg; Frank, David; Raible, Christoph; Esper, Jan and Brönnimann, Stefan

Subjects:

500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
900 History > 910 Geography & travel

ISSN:

1758-678X

Publisher:

Nature Publishing Group

Language:

English

Submitter:

Monika Wälti-Stampfli

Date Deposited:

17 Jan 2014 10:23

Last Modified:

10 Nov 2015 14:07

Publisher DOI:

10.1038/nclimate1816

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Earth sciences, Modelling and statistics, Palaeoclimate, Detection and Attribution

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.39446

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/39446

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