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Old World megadroughts and pluvials during the Common Era

Journal article
Authors ER Cook
R Seager
Y Kushnir
KR Briffa
U Buntgen
D Frank
PJ Krusic
W Tegel
G van der Schrier
L Andreu-Hayles
M Baillie
C Baittinger
N Bleicher
N Bonde
D Brown
M Carrer
R Cooper
K Cufar
C Dittmar
J Esper
C Griggs
B Gunnarson
B Gunther
E Guiterrez
K Haneca
S Helama
F Herzig
K-U Heussner
J Hoffman
P Janda
R Kontic
N Köse
T Kyncl
T Levanic
Hans W. Linderholm
S Manning
TM Melvin
D Miles
B Neuwirth
K Nicolussi
P Nola
M Panayotov
I Popa
A Rothe
Kristina Seftigen
Andrea Seim
H Svarva
M Svoboda
T Thun
M Timonen
R Touchan
V Trotsiuk
V Trouet
F Walder
T Wazny
R Wilson
C Zhang
Published in Science Advances
Volume 1
Issue 10
Pages e1500561
ISSN 2375-2548
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages e1500561
Language en
Keywords Hydroclimate, Drought Atlas, Old World, Common Era, Tree rings
Subject categories Climate Research


Climate model projections suggest widespread drying in the Mediterranean Basin and wetting in Fennoscandia in the coming decades largely as a consequence of greenhouse gas forcing of climate. To place these and other “Old World” climate projections into historical perspective based on more complete estimates of natural hydroclimatic variability, we have developed the “Old World Drought Atlas” (OWDA), a set of year-to-year maps of tree-ring reconstructed summer wetness and dryness over Europe and the Mediterranean Basin during the Common Era. TheOWDAmatches historical accounts of severe drought and wetness with a spatial completeness not previously available. In addition, megadroughts reconstructed over north-central Europe in the 11th and mid-15th centuries reinforce other evidence from North America and Asia that droughts were more severe, extensive, and prolonged over Northern Hemisphere land areas before the 20th century, with an inadequate understanding of their causes. The OWDA provides new data to determine the causes of Old World drought and wetness and attribute past climate variability to forced and/or internal variability.

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