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The influence of decision-making in tree ring-based climate reconstructions


Buntgen, Ulf and Allen, K and Anchukaitis, KJ and Arseneault, D and Boucher, A and Brauning, A and Chatterjee, S and Cherubini, P and Churakova, OV and Corona, C and Gennaretti, F and Griessinger, J and Guillet, S and Guiot, J and Gunnarson, B and Helama, S and Hochreuther, P and Hughes, MK and Huybers, P and Kirdyanov, AV and Krusic, PJ and Ludescher, J and Meier, WJ-H and Myglan, VS and Nicolussi, K and Oppenheimer, C and Reinig, F and Salzer, MW and Seftigen, K and Stine, AR and Stoffel, M and St George, S and Tejedor, E and Trevino, A and Trouet, V and Wang, J and Wilson, R and Yang, B and Xu, G and Esper, J, The influence of decision-making in tree ring-based climate reconstructions, Nature Communications, 12, (1) Article 3411. ISSN 2041-1723 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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© 2021. The Authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41467-021-23627-6


Tree-ring chronologies underpin the majority of annually-resolved reconstructions of Common Era climate. However, they are derived using different datasets and techniques, the ramifications of which have hitherto been little explored. Here, we report the results of a double-blind experiment that yielded 15 Northern Hemisphere summer temperature reconstructions from a common network of regional tree-ring width datasets. Taken together as an ensemble, the Common Era reconstruction mean correlates with instrumental temperatures from 1794–2016 CE at 0.79 (p < 0.001), reveals summer cooling in the years following large volcanic eruptions, and exhibits strong warming since the 1980s. Differing in their mean, variance, amplitude, sensitivity, and persistence, the ensemble members demonstrate the influence of subjectivity in the reconstruction process. We therefore recommend the routine use of ensemble reconstruction approaches to provide a more consensual picture of past climate variability.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Physical geography and environmental geoscience
Research Field:Palaeoclimatology
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Climate variability (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Allen, K (Dr Kathy Allen)
ID Code:144765
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:27
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2021-06-09
Last Modified:2022-08-29
Downloads:12 View Download Statistics

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