Filling the Eastern European gap in millennium-long temperature reconstructions

Büntgen, Ulf; Kyncl, T.; Ginzler, C.; Jacks, D. S.; Esper, J.; Tegel, W.; Heussner, K.-U.; Kyncl, J. (2013). Filling the Eastern European gap in millennium-long temperature reconstructions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America - PNAS, 110(5), pp. 1773-1778. National Academy of Sciences NAS 10.1073/pnas.1211485110

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Tree ring–based temperature reconstructions form the scientific backbone of the current global change debate. Although some European records extend into medieval times, high-resolution, long-term, regional-scale paleoclimatic evidence is missing for the eastern part of the continent. Here we compile 545 samples of living trees and historical timbers from the greater Tatra region to reconstruct interannual to centennial-long variations in Eastern European May–June temperature back to 1040 AD. Recent anthropogenic warming exceeds the range of past natural climate variability. Increased plague outbreaks and political conflicts, as well as decreased settlement activities, coincided with temperature depressions. The Black Death in the mid-14th century, the Thirty Years War in the early 17th century, and the French Invasion of Russia in the early 19th century all occurred during the coldest episodes of the last millennium. A comparison with summer temperature reconstructions from Scandinavia, the Alps, and the Pyrenees emphasizes the seasonal and spatial specificity of our results, questioning those large-scale reconstructions that simply average individual sites.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Büntgen, Ulf


900 History > 910 Geography & travel




National Academy of Sciences NAS




Monika Wälti-Stampfli

Date Deposited:

04 Jul 2014 14:25

Last Modified:

19 Oct 2015 09:25

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

climate change, dendroclimatology, Eastern Europe, human history




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