Knowledge of past climate can improve our understanding of the climate variability; however, our confidence in historical climate data remains a critical issue. Scientists conducted an uncertainty analysis of 2000 years of regional temperature variations in China based on available proxies reconstructed from tree rings, stalagmites, ice cores, lake sediments, and historical documents. Results indicate, that although large uncertainties are found for the period prior to the 16th century, high levels of consistency are identified in all regions during the past 500-years. This period is highlighted by two cold periods from the 1620s-1710s and the 1800s-1860s and warming during the 20th century. The analysis also indicates that warming during the 10-14th centuries in some regions might be comparable in magnitude to the warming of the last few decades of the 20th century. The research is a collaborative study under the United States Department of Energy and China Ministry of Sciences and Technology joint agreement "Climate Sciences."
Reference: Ge, Q.-S., J.-Y. Zheng, Z.-X. Hao, X.-M. Shao, W.-C. Wang, and J. Luterbacher, 2010: Temperature variation through 2000 years in China: An uncertainty analysis of reconstruction and regional difference. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L03703, doi:10.1029/2009GL041281.
Contact: Renu Joseph, SC-23.1, (301) 903-9237
SC-33.1 Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, BER
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