Tree-ring reconstructed summer temperature anomalies for temperate East Asia since 800 C.E

Edward R. Cook, Paul J. Krusic, Kevin J. Anchukaitis, Brendan M. Buckley, Takeshi Nakatsuka, Masaki Sano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

187 Scopus citations


We develop a summer temperature reconstruction for temperate East Asia based on a network of annual tree-ring chronologies covering the period 800-1989 C.E. The East Asia reconstruction is the regional average of 585 individual grid point summer temperature reconstructions produced using an ensemble version of point-by-point regression. Statistical calibration and validation tests indicate that the regional average possesses sufficient overall skill to allow it to be used to study the causes of temperature variability and change over the region. The reconstruction suggests a moderately warm early medieval epoch (ca. 850-1050 C.E.), followed by generally cooler 'Little Ice Age' conditions (ca. 1350-1880 C.E.) and 20th century warming up to the present time. Since 1990, average temperature has exceeded past warm epochs of comparable duration, but it is not statistically unprecedented. Superposed epoch analysis reveals a volcanic forcing signal in the East Asia summer temperature reconstruction, resulting in pulses of cooler summer conditions that may persist for several years. Substantial uncertainties remain, however, particularly at lower frequencies, thus requiring caution and scientific prudence in the interpretation of this record.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2957-2972
Number of pages16
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Asia
  • Paleoclimate
  • Temperature
  • Tree-rings
  • Volcanic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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