Northwestern North America has one of the highest rates of recent temperature increase in the world, but the putative "divergence problem"in dendroclimatology potentially limits the ability of tree-ring proxy data at high latitudes to provide long-term context for current anthropogenic change. Here, summer temperatures are reconstructed from a Picea glauca maximum latewood density (MXD) chronology that shows a stable relationship to regional temperatures and spans most of the last millennium at the Firth River in northeastern Alaska. The warmest epoch in the last nine centuries is estimated to have occurred during the late twentieth century, with average temperatures over the last 30 yr of the reconstruction developed for this study [1973- 2002 in the Common Era (CE)] approximately 1.3° ± 0.48° warmer than the long-term preindustrial mean (1100-1850 CE), a change associated with rapid increases in greenhouse gases. Prior to the late twentieth century, multidecadal temperature fluctuations covary broadly with changes in natural radiative forcing. The findings presented here emphasize that tree-ring proxies can provide reliable indicators of temperature variability even in a rapidly warming climate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science