Articles | Volume 3, issue 4
Clim. Past, 3, 591–609, 2007
Clim. Past, 3, 591–609, 2007

  05 Oct 2007

05 Oct 2007

Millennial temperature reconstruction intercomparison and evaluation

M. N. Juckes1, M. R. Allen2, K. R. Briffa3, J. Esper4, G. C. Hegerl5, A. Moberg6, T. J. Osborn3, and S. L. Weber7 M. N. Juckes et al.
  • 1British Atmospheric Data Centre, SSTD, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Chilton, Didcot, Oxfordshire, OX11 0QX, UK
  • 2University of Oxford, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics, Clarendon Laboratory, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PU, UK
  • 3Climatic Research Unit, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
  • 4Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • 5Div. of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Science, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA
  • 6Department of Meteorology and Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 7Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), Postbus 201, 3730 AE De Bilt, The Netherlands

Abstract. There has been considerable recent interest in paleoclimate reconstructions of the temperature history of the last millennium. A wide variety of techniques have been used. The interrelation among the techniques is sometimes unclear, as different studies often use distinct data sources as well as distinct methodologies. Here recent work is reviewed and some new calculations performed with an aim to clarifying the consequences of the different approaches used. A range of proxy data collections introduced by different authors is used to estimate Northern Hemispheric annual mean temperatures with two reconstruction algorithms: (1) inverse regression and, (2) compositing followed by variance matching (CVM). It is found that inverse regression tends to give large weighting to a small number of proxies and that the second approach (CVM) is more robust to varying proxy input. The choice of proxy records is one reason why different reconstructions show different ranges. A reconstruction using 13 proxy records extending back to AD 1000 shows a maximum pre-industrial temperature of 0.25 K (relative to the 1866 to 1970 mean). The standard error on this estimate, based on the residual in the calibration period, is 0.14 K. Instrumental temperatures for two recent years (1998 and 2005) have exceeded the pre-industrial estimated maximum by more than 4 standard deviations of the calibration period residual.