Old World megadroughts and pluvials during the Common Era
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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. The OWDA matches 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.
Cook , E R , Seager , R , Kushnir , Y , Briffa , K R , Büntgen , U , Frank , D , Krusic , P J , Tegel , W , van der Schrier , G , Andreu-Hayles , L , Baillie , M , Baittinger , C , Bleicher , N , Bonde , N , Brown , D , Carrer , M , Cooper , R , Čufar , K , Dittmar , C , Esper , J , Griggs , C , Gunnarson , B , Günther , B , Gutierrez , E , Haneca , K , Helama , S , Herzig , F , Heussner , K-U , Hofmann , J , Janda , P , Kontic , R , Köse , N , Kyncl , T , Levaniv c , T , Linderholm , H , Manning , S , Melvin , T M , Miles , D , Neuwirth , B , Nicolussi , K , Nola , P , Panayotov , M , Popa , I , Rothe , A , Seftigen , K , Seim , A , Svarva , H , Svoboda , M , Thun , T , Timonen , M , Touchan , R , Trotsiuk , V , Trouet , V , Walder , F , Wazny , T , Wilson , R & Zang , C 2015 , ' Old World megadroughts and pluvials during the Common Era ' Science Advances , vol 1 , no. 10 , e1500561 . DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500561
Copyright © 2015, The Authors. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.
Funding: The authors thank the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Change Data and Detection Program for supporting this project (award NA10OAR4310123) and the National Science Foundation Earth System History Program (awards 0075956 and ESH0317288), ATM GEO/ATM Paleoclimate Program (award 0758486), and award 1103314 for additional long-term support in developing this research in the Mediterranean region.