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Summer temperature variability in central Scandinavia during the last 3600 years

Linderholm, H.W. and Gunnarson, B.E. 2005, G.H. 2002; Geografiska Annaler 87A: 231-241


A Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) tree-ring width chronology from Jämtland, in the central Scandinavian Mountains, built from living and sub-fossil wood, covering the period 1632 BC to AD 2002, with a minor gap during AD 887–907, is presented. This is the first multi-millennial tree-ring chronology from the central parts of Fennoscandia. Pine growth in this tree line environment is mainly limited by summer temperatures, and hence the record can be viewed as a temperature proxy. Using the regional curve standardization (RCS) technique, pine-growth variability on short and long time scales was retained and subsequently summer (June–August) temperatures were reconstructed yielding information on temperature variability during the last 3600 years. Several periods with anomalously warm or cold summers were found: 450–550 BC (warm), AD 300–400 (cold), AD 900–1000 (the Medieval Warm Period, warm) and AD 1550–1900 (Little Ice Age, cold). The coldest period was encountered in the fourth century AD and the warmest period 450 to 550 BC. However, the magnitude of these anomalies is uncertain since the replication of trees in the Jämtland record is low during those periods. The twentieth century warming does not stand out as an anomalous feature in the last 3600 years. Two multi-millennial tree-ring chronologies from Swedish and Finnish Lapland, which have previously been used as summer temperature proxies, agree well with the Jämtland record, indicating that the latter is a good proxy of local, but also regional, summer temperature variability.