Low-frequency temperature variations from a northern tree-ring density network

Keith R. Briffa, Timothy J. Osborn, Fritz H. Schweingruber, Ian C. Harris, Philip D. Jones, Stepan G. Shiyatov, Eugene A. Vaganov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

502 Citations (Scopus)


We describe new reconstructions of northern extratropical summer temperatures for nine subcontinental-scale regions and a composite series representing quasi “Northern Hemisphere” temperature change over the last 600 years. These series are based on tree ring density data that have been processed using a novel statistical technique (age band decomposition) designed to preserve greater long-timescale variability than in previous analyses. We provide time-dependent and timescale-dependent uncertainty estimates for all of the reconstructions. The new regional estimates are generally cooler in almost all precalibration periods, compared to estimates obtained using earlier processing methods, particularly during the 17th century. One exception is the reconstruction for northern Siberia, where 15th century summers are now estimated to be warmer than those observed in the 20th century. In producing a new Northern Hemisphere series we demonstrate the sensitivity of the results to the methodology used once the number of regions with data, and the reliability of each regional series, begins to decrease. We compare our new hemisphere series to other published large-regional temperature histories, most of which lie within the 1σ confidence band of our estimates over most of the last 600 years. The 20th century is clearly shown by all of the palaeoseries composites to be the warmest during this period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2929-2941
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberD3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2001

Cite this