Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstruction during the last millennium using multiple annual proxies

Shi, Feng; Yang, Bao; Mairesse, Aurèlien; von Gunten, Lucien; Li, Jianping; Bräuning, Achim; Yang, Fengmei; Xiao, Xia (2013). Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstruction during the last millennium using multiple annual proxies. Climate research, 56(3), pp. 231-244. Inter-Research 10.3354/cr01156

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Previous studies have either exclusively used annual tree-ring data or have combined tree-ring series with other, lower temporal resolution proxy series. Both approaches can lead to significant uncertainties, as tree-rings may underestimate the amplitude of past temperature variations, and the validity of non-annual records cannot be clearly assessed. In this study, we assembled 45 published Northern Hemisphere (NH) temperature proxy records covering the past millennium, each of which satisfied 3 essential criteria: the series must be of annual resolution, span at least a thousand years, and represent an explicit temperature signal. Suitable climate archives included ice cores, varved lake sediments, tree-rings and speleothems. We reconstructed the average annual land temperature series for the NH over the last millennium by applying 3 different reconstruction techniques: (1) principal components (PC) plus second-order autoregressive model (AR2), (2) composite plus scale (CPS) and (3) regularized errors-in-variables approach (EIV). Our reconstruction is in excellent agreement with 6 climate model simulations (including the first 5 models derived from the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) and an earth system model of intermediate complexity (LOVECLIM), showing similar temperatures at multi-decadal timescales; however, all simulations appear to underestimate the temperature during the Medieval Warm Period (MWP). A comparison with other NH reconstructions shows that our results are consistent with earlier studies. These results indicate that well-validated annual proxy series should be used to minimize proxy-based artifacts, and that these proxy series contain sufficient information to reconstruct the low-frequency climate variability over the past millennium.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > PAGES Past Global Changes

UniBE Contributor:

von Gunten, Lucien


900 History > 910 Geography & travel








Monika Wälti-Stampfli

Date Deposited:

11 Aug 2014 15:12

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:32

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Climate change, Global warming, Palaeoclimatology, Temperature reconstruction


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