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Fennoscandia revisited: a spatially improved tree‑ring reconstruction of summer temperatures for the last 900 years

Journal article
Authors Hans W. Linderholm
Jesper Björklund
Kristina Seftigen
Björn Gunnarson
Mauricio Fuentes
Published in Climate Dynamics
Volume 45
Issue 3-4
Pages 933-947
ISSN 0930-7575
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 933-947
Language en
Keywords Climate change · Tree rings · Density · Blue intensity · Forcings
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences, Climate Research


Despite the spatially homogenous summer temperature pattern in Fennoscandia, there are large spreads among the many existing reconstructions, resulting in an uncertainty in the timing and amplitude of past changes. Also, there has been a general bias towards northernmost Fennoscandia. In an attempt to provide a more spatially coherent view of summer (June–August, JJA) temperature variability within the last millennium, we utilized seven density and three blue intensity Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) chronologies collected from the altitudinal (Scandinavian Mountains) and latitudinal (northernmost part) treeline. To attain a JJA temperature signal as strong as possible, as well as preserving multicentury-scale variability, we used a new tree-ring parameter, where the earlywood information is removed from the maximum density and blue intensity, and a modified signal-free standardization method. Two skilful reconstructions for the period 1100– 2006 CE were made, one regional reconstruction based on an average of the chronologies, and one field (gridded) reconstruction. The new reconstructions were shown to have much improved spatial representations compared to those based on data from only northern sites, thus making it more valid for the whole region. An examination of some of the forcings of JJA mean temperatures in the region shows an association with sea-surface temperature over the eastern North Atlantic, but also the subpolar and subtropical gyres. Moreover, using Superposed Epoch Analysis, a significant cooling in the year following a volcanic eruption was noted, and for the largest explosive eruptions, the effect could remain for up to 4 years. This new improved reconstruction provides a mean to reinforce our understanding of forcings on summer temperatures in the North European sector.

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