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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2008 Jul 12;363(1501):2271-84.

Trends in recent temperature and radial tree growth spanning 2000 years across northwest Eurasia.

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  • 1Climatic Research Unit, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK.


This paper describes variability in trends of annual tree growth at several locations in the high latitudes of Eurasia, providing a wide regional comparison over a 2000-year period. The study focuses on the nature of local and widespread tree-growth responses to recent warming seen in instrumental observations, available in northern regions for periods ranging from decades to a century. Instrumental temperature data demonstrate differences in seasonal scale of Eurasian warming and the complexity and spatial diversity of tree-growing-season trends in recent decades. A set of long tree-ring chronologies provides empirical evidence of association between inter-annual tree growth and local, primarily summer, temperature variability at each location. These data show no evidence of a recent breakdown in this association as has been found at other high-latitude Northern Hemisphere locations. Using Kendall's concordance, we quantify the time-dependent relationship between growth trends of the long chronologies as a group. This provides strong evidence that the extent of recent widespread warming across northwest Eurasia, with respect to 100- to 200-year trends, is unprecedented in the last 2000 years. An equivalent analysis of simulated temperatures using the HadCM3 model fails to show a similar increase in concordance expected as a consequence of anthropogenic forcing.

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