The IPCC’s reductive Common Era temperature history

Jan Esper, Jason E. Smerdon, Kevin J. Anchukaitis, Kathryn Allen, Edward R. Cook, Rosanne D’Arrigo, Sébastien Guillet, Fredrik C. Ljungqvist, Frederick Reinig, Lea Schneider, Michael Sigl, Markus Stoffel, Mirek Trnka, Rob Wilson, Ulf Büntgen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Common Era temperature variability has been a prominent component in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports over the last several decades and was twice featured in their Summary for Policymakers. A single reconstruction of mean Northern Hemisphere temperature variability was first highlighted in the 2001 Summary for Policymakers, despite other estimates that existed at the time. Subsequent reports assessed many large-scale temperature reconstructions, but the entirety of Common Era temperature history in the most recent Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was restricted to a single estimate of mean annual global temperatures. We argue that this focus on a single reconstruction is an insufficient summary of our understanding of temperature variability over the Common Era. We provide a complementary perspective by offering an alternative assessment of the state of our understanding in high-resolution paleoclimatology for the Common Era and call for future reports to present a more accurate and comprehensive assessment of our knowledge about this important period of human and climate history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number222
JournalCommunications Earth and Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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