European temperature records of the past five centuries based on documentary/instrumental information compared to climate simulations
2010 (English)In: Climatic Change, ISSN 0165-0009, E-ISSN 1573-1480, Vol. 101, no 1-2, 143-168 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Two European temperature reconstructions for the past half-millennium,January-to-April air temperature for Stockholm (Sweden) and seasonal temperaturefor a Central European region, both derived from the analysis of documentarysources and long instrumental records, are compared with the output of climate simulations with the model ECHO-G. The analysis is complemented by comparisonswith the long (early)-instrumental record of Central England Temperature(CET). Both approaches to study past climates (simulations and reconstructions)are burdened with uncertainties. The main objective of this comparative analysisis to identify robust features and weaknesses in each method which may help toimprove models and reconstruction methods. The results indicate a general agreementbetween simulations obtained with temporally changing external forcings andthe reconstructed Stockholm and CET records for the multi-centennial temperaturetrend over the recent centuries, which is not reproduced in a control simulation.This trend is likely due to the long-term change in external forcing. Additionally,the Stockholm reconstruction and the CET record also show a clear multi-decadalwarm episode peaking around AD 1730, which is absent in the simulations. Neitherthe reconstruction uncertainties nor the model internal climate variability caneasily explain this difference. Regarding the interannual variability, the Stockholmseries displays, in some periods, higher amplitudes than the simulations but thesedifferences are within the statistical uncertainty and further decrease if output froma regional model driven by the global model is used. The long-term trend of theCentral European temperature series agrees less well with the simulations. Thereconstructed temperature displays, for all seasons, a smaller difference between thepresent climate and past centuries than is seen in the simulations. Possible reasons forthese differences may be related to a limitation of the traditional ‘indexing’ techniquefor converting documentary evidence to temperature values to capture long-termclimate changes, because the documents often reflect temperatures relative to thecontemporary authors’ own perception of what constituted ‘normal’ conditions. Bycontrast, the amplitude of the simulated and reconstructed inter-annual variabilityagrees rather well.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Netherlands: Springer , 2010. Vol. 101, no 1-2, 143-168 p.
north-atlantic oscillation; central england temperatures; 1000-yr control simulation; internal variability; last-millennium; historical climatology; documentary data; mauner minimum; alpine region; echo-g
Research subject Physical Geography
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-40480DOI: 10.1007/s10584-010-9824-7ISI: 000278401200006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-40480DiVA: diva2:324129
ProjectsEU project Millennium