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Volume 42, Issue 1 (Mar 2015)


Long-term summer temperature variations in the Pyrenees from detrended stable carbon isotopes

Jan Esper
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Geography, Johannes Gutenberg University, 55099 Mainz, Germany
  • Email:
/ Oliver Konter
  • Department of Geography, Johannes Gutenberg University, 55099 Mainz, Germany
/ Paul J. Krusic
  • Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
/ Matthias Saurer
  • Paul Scherrer Institut, 5232 Villigen, Switzerland
/ Steffen Holzkämper
  • Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
/ Ulf Büntgen
  • Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  • Global Change Research Centre AS CR, v.v.i., Bělidla 86/4a, CZ-60300 Brno, Czech Republic
Published Online: 2015-03-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/geochr-2015-0006


Substantial effort has recently been put into the development of climate reconstructions from tree-ring stable carbon isotopes, though the interpretation of long-term trends retained in such timeseries remains challenging. Here we use detrended δ13C measurements in Pinus uncinata tree-rings, from the Spanish Pyrenees, to reconstruct decadal variations in summer temperature back to the 13th century. The June-August temperature signal of this reconstruction is attributed using decadally as well as annually resolved, 20th century δ13C data. Results indicate that late 20th century warming has not been unique within the context of the past 750 years. Our reconstruction contains greater am-plitude than previous reconstructions derived from traditional tree-ring density data, and describes particularly cool conditions during the late 19th century. Some of these differences, including early warm periods in the 14th and 17th centuries, have been retained via δ13C timeseries detrending - a novel approach in tree-ring stable isotope chronology development. The overall reduced variance in earlier studies points to an underestimation of pre-instrumental summer temperature variability de-rived from traditional tree-ring parameters.

Keywords : Climate change; paleoclimatology; stable isotope geochemistry; tree-rings; Europe


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About the article

Received: 2014-07-28

Accepted: 2015-02-06

Published Online: 2015-03-27

Citation Information: Geochronometria, ISSN (Online) 1897-1695, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/geochr-2015-0006.

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© 2015. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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