- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Climate of the Past
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- 1251 to 1273
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
null (Ed.)Abstract We use theNorthern Hemisphere Tree-RingNetwork Development (NTREND) tree-ring database to examine the effects of using a small, highly-sensitive proxy network for paleotemperature data assimilation over the last millennium. We first evaluate our methods using pseudo-proxy experiments. These indicate that spatial assimilations using this network are skillful in the extratropical Northern Hemisphere and improve on previous NTREND reconstructions based on Point-by-Point regression. We also find our method is sensitive to climate model biases when the number of sites becomes small. Based on these experiments, we then assimilate the real NTREND network. To quantify model prior uncertainty, we produce 10 separate reconstructions, each assimilating a different climate model. These reconstructions are most dissimilar prior to 1100 CE, when the network becomes sparse, but show greater consistency as the network grows. Temporal variability is also underestimated before 1100 CE. Our assimilation method produces spatial uncertainty estimates and these identify treeline North America and eastern Siberia as regions that would most benefit from development of new millennial-length temperature-sensitive tree-ring records. We compare our multi-model mean reconstruction to five existing paleo-temperature products to examine the range of reconstructed responses to radiative forcing. We find substantial differences in the spatial patterns and magnitudes of reconstructed responses to volcanic eruptions and in the transition between the Medieval epoch and Little Ice Age. These extant uncertainties call for the development of a paleoclimate reconstruction intercomparison framework for systematically examining the consequences of proxy network composition and reconstruction methodology and for continued expansion of tree-ring proxy networks.more » « less
Large volcanic eruptions are one of the dominant perturbations to global and regional atmospheric temperatures on timescales of years to decades. Discrepancies remain, however, in the estimated magnitude and persistence of the surface temperature cooling caused by volcanic eruptions, as characterized by paleoclimatic proxies and climate models. We investigate these discrepancies in the context of large tropical eruptions over the Last Millennium using two state‐of‐the‐art data assimilation products, the Paleo Hydrodynamics Data Assimilation product (PHYDA) and the Last Millennium Reanalysis (LMR), and simulations from the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Earth System Model‐Last Millennium Ensemble (NCAR CESM‐LME). We find that PHYDA and LMR estimate mean global and hemispheric cooling that is similar in magnitude and persistence once effects from eruptions occurring in short succession are removed. The estimates also compare well to Northern‐Hemisphere reconstructions based solely or partially on tree‐ring density, which have been proposed as the most accurate proxy estimates of surface cooling due to volcanism. All proxy‐based estimates also agree well with the magnitude of the mean cooling simulated by the CESM‐LME. Differences remain, however, in the spatial patterns of the temperature responses in the PHYDA, LMR, and the CESM‐LME. The duration of cooling anomalies also persists for several years longer in the PHYDA and LMR relative to the CESM‐LME. Our results demonstrate progress in resolving discrepancies between proxy‐ and model‐based estimates of temperature responses to volcanism, but also indicate these estimates must be further reconciled to better characterize the risks of future volcanic eruptions.
During the mid‐Holocene (MH: ∼6,000 years Before Present) and Last Interglacial LIG (LIG: ∼129,000–116,000 years Before Present) differences in the seasonal and latitudinal distribution of insolation drove Northern Hemisphere high‐latitude warming comparable to that projected for the end of the 21st century in low emissions scenarios. Paleoclimate proxy records point to distinct but regionally variable hydroclimatic changes during these past warm intervals. However, model simulations have generally disagreed on North American regional moisture patterns during the MH and LIG. To investigate how closely the latest generation of models associated with the Paleoclimate Model Intercomparison Project (PMIP4) reproduces proxy‐inferred moisture patterns during recent warm periods, we compare hydroclimate output from 17 PMIP4 models with newly updated compilations of moisture‐sensitive North American proxy records during the MH and LIG. Agreement is lower for the MH, with models producing wet anomalies across the western United States (US) where most proxies indicate increased aridity relative to the preindustrial period. The models that agree most closely with the LIG proxy compilation display relative wetness in the eastern US and Alaska, and dryness in the northwest and central US. An assessment of atmospheric dynamics using an ensemble of the three LIG simulations that best agree with the proxies suggests that weaker winter North Pacific pressure gradients and steeper summer North Pacific and Atlantic gradients drive LIG precipitation patterns. Our updated compilations and proxy‐model comparisons offer a tool for benchmarking climate models and their performance in simulating climate states that are warmer than present.
Climate change has contributed to recent declines in mountain snowpack and earlier runoff, which in turn have intensified hydrological droughts in western North America. Climate model projections suggest that continued and severe snowpack reductions are expected over the 21st century, with profound consequences for ecosystems and human welfare. Yet the current understanding of trends and variability in mountain snowpack is limited by the relatively short and strongly temperature forced observational record. Motivated by the urgent need to better understand snowpack dynamics in a long-term, spatially coherent framework, here we examine snow-growth relationships in western North American tree-ring chronologies. We present an extensive network of snow-sensitive proxy data to support high space/time resolution paleosnow reconstruction, quantify and interpret the type and spatial density of snow related signals in tree-ring records, and examine the potential for regional bias in the tree-ring based reconstruction of different snow drought types (dry versus warm). Our results indicate three distinct snow-growth relationships in tree-ring chronologies: moisture-limited snow proxies that include a spring temperature signal, moisture-limited snow proxies lacking a spring temperature signal, and energy-limited snow proxies. Each proxy type is based on distinct physiological tree-growth mechanisms related to topographic and climatic site conditions, and provides unique information on mountain snowpack dynamics that can be capitalized upon within a statistical reconstruction framework. This work provides a platform and foundational background required for the accelerated production of high-quality annually resolved snowpack reconstructions from regional to high (
12 km) spatial scales in western North America and, by extension, will support an improved understanding of the vulnerability of snowmelt-derived water resources to natural variability and future climate warming.
Tree‐ring chronologies from bristlecone pine (
Pinus longaeva) are a unique proxy used to understand climate variability over the middle to late Holocene. The annual rings from trees growing toward the species' lower elevational range are sensitive to precipitation variability. Interpretation of the ring‐width signal at the upper forest border has been more difficult. We evaluate differences in climate induced by topography (topoclimate) to better understand the dual signals of temperature and moisture. We unmix signals from trees growing at and near the upper forest border based on the seasonal mean temperature (SMT) experienced by each tree. We find that trees growing in exposures with SMT <7.5 ∘C are limited by temperature, while trees with SMT > 7.5 ∘C are limited by moisture. We demonstrate this independently through analysis of growth in the frequency and time domains and using a process model of xylogenesis. Furthermore, we identify increasing moisture sensitivity in trees formerly limited by temperature.