A new paper published in Climatic Change reconstructs temperatures from tree-rings over the past 230 years in eastern Eurasia and finds 3 more non-hockey-sticks with temperatures at the end of the 20th century lower than multiple periods in the past. The paper adds to over 1,200 peer-reviewed papers demonstrating late 20th century temperatures were not unusual, unnatural, or unprecedented in comparison to the past.
Linking two centuries of tree growth and glacier dynamics with climate changes in Kamchatka
Jiri Dolezal, Jan Altman, Valentina P. Vetrova, Toshihiko Hara
Glaciers around the world retreated as the climate warmed substantially. For the majority of alpine and arctic areas, however, the lack of meteorological data over a long period makes it difficult to build long-term climate and glacial fluctuation relationships, emphasizing the importance of natural proxy archives. Here we use the 230-year record of stem radial growth of birch trees (Betula ermanii) from the treeline forests above the receding glaciers in eastern maritime Kamchatka to analyse temporal variations of climate as well as glacial advance and retreat. Glaciers in Kamchatka Peninsula represent the southern limit of glaciation in far eastern Eurasia, which makes them prone to global warming. Using instrumental climate data (1930–1996) from local meteorological stations, we find that the July temperature had most prominent positive impact on birch growth. On the contrary, smaller ring increments are associated with the positive summer and net annual ice mass balance of Koryto Glacier. The prevailing trend of higher summer temperatures and lower snowfall over the past 70 years has enhanced tree growth while causing the glacier’s surface to lower by about 35 m and its front to retreat by about 490 m. Assuming these same relationships between climate, tree growth, and glacier mass balance also existed in the past, we use tree rings as a proxy record of climatically induced temporary halts in the glacier’s retreat over the past two centuries, which in total was over 1,000 m. Both direct observations and tree ring proxies indicate several prolonged warm periods (1990s, 1960s, 1930–1940s, 1880–1900s) interspersed with cooler periods (1984–1985, 1970–1976, 1953–1957, 1912–1926, 1855–1875, 1830–1845, 1805–1820 and 1770–1780) when the glacier re-advanced, creating several consecutive terminal moraine ridges. We conclude that birch tree-rings are suitable for assessing tree growth/climate/glacial relationships over a longer timescale in maritime Kamchatka.