A new paper in Quaternary Science Reviews titled:
Combined dendro-documentary evidence of Central European hydroclimatic springtime extremes over the last millennium
…demonstrates that there is evidence for extreme weather during both the Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age, in fact it was seen as common according to the tree ring records examined. Unlike the Yamal debacle, it seems they did a much broader sampling of trees, both living and historical fir (Abies alba Mill.), and sampled across France, Switzerland, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Even better, unlike the irascible Dr. Mann, they didn’t have to truncate the tree samples after 1960 because they didn’t agree with the premise. Their samples continuously span the AD 962–2007 period and no hide the decline was needed.
Unfortunately. this paper is
published paywalled in Elsevier, which is being boycotted by thousands of academics worldwide, so I can’t recommend that anyone purchase it. But with a little sleuthing, I found a copy on one of the author websites here.
A predicted rise in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and associated effects on the Earth’s climate system likely imply more frequent and severe weather extremes with alternations in hydroclimatic parameters expected to be most critical for ecosystem functioning, agricultural yield, and human health. Evaluating the return period and amplitude of modern climatic extremes in light of pre-industrial natural changes is, however, limited by generally too short instrumental meteorological observations. Here we introduce and analyze 11,873 annually resolved and absolutely dated ring width measurement series from living and historical fir (Abies alba Mill.) trees sampled across France, Switzerland, Germany, and the Czech Republic, which continuously span the AD 962–2007 period. Even though a dominant climatic driver of European fir growth was not found, ring width extremes were evidently triggered by anomalous variations in Central European April–June precipitation. Wet conditions were associated with dynamic low-pressure cells, whereas continental-scale droughts coincided with persistent high-pressure between 35 and 55°N. Documentary evidence independently confirms many of the dendro signals over the past millennium, and further provides insight on causes and consequences of ambient weather conditions related to the reconstructed extremes. A fairly uniform distribution of hydroclimatic extremes throughout the Medieval Climate Anomaly, Little Ice Age and Recent Global Warming may question the common believe that frequency and severity of such events closely relates to climate mean stages. This joint dendro-documentary approach not only allows extreme climate conditions of the industrial era to be placed against the backdrop of natural variations, but also probably helps to constrain climate model simulations over exceptional long timescales.
I found Table 1 and the historical accounts fascinating:
Numerous laboratories, institutes and universities independently developed a unique pool of nearly twelve thousand living and historical fir TRW measurement series from northeastern France, northern Switzerland, southern Germany, and the Czech Republic.
This worldwide unique conifer compilation continuously spans from medieval times into the 21st century, and was now for the first time, dendro-climatologically analyzed. Three regional subsets reveal an exceptionally high amount of common fir growth variability on inter-annual to multi-centennial timescales. An overall weak relationship between ring formation and climate variation, however, contradicts the pronounced year-to-year growth coherency across the lower elevation Central European mountain systems north of the
Alpine arc. Frequency and severity of regional- to continental-scale fir TRW extremes was equally distributed over the past millennium, and was likely controlled by anomalous departures in Central European April-June precipitation totals. Positive growth extremes
were associated with wet conditions that coincided with low pressure,
whereas negative TRW departures were related to dry conditions and high-pressure. Independent documentary evidence confirms many of the TRW extremes back into medieval times.
Quantitative indices and qualitative descriptions provide exclusive high-resolution insight on ambient climate conditions, including detailed information on possible causes and consequences of hydroclimatic anomalies. Cross checking tree-ring reconstructions of
extreme events with corresponding narrative documentary sources is indispensable for detecting possible disagreement in specific years. Uncertainties in our results comprise methodological limitations related to the tree-ring standardization and chronology
development techniques used, complex and possibly lagged responses of fir growth to climate change, some temporal mismatch between the dendro and documentary data, and statistical trials associated with the index calculation methods applied. Nevertheless,
our study does allow Central European hydroclimatic springtime extremes of the industrial era to be placed against a 1000 year-long backdrop of natural variations, and may possibly also offers a realistic and independent benchmark to improve the absolute dating of lower resolution proxy archives, and even to constrain climate model
simulations over pre-industrial timescales. Beside its palaeoclimatic value will this interdisciplinary dataset and approach likely appear beneficial for biologists, ecologists and archeologists, and will ideally also stimulate the re-assessment of additional and possibly even older historical tree-ring measurements that exist in Europe and
have so far widely been ignored for purposes other than dating.
Next time you hear someone wailing about climate change driving severe weather and this being a recent phenomenon caused by AGW, show them this.
If that fails, use Dr. Roger Pielke Jr.’s handy button: