In a new study published in the journal Climate of the Past, a team of geophysicists at UMass Amherst have reconstructed the highest resolution temperature record for New England, stretching back 900 years to the Middle Ages. The temperature data set gives new insight into the climate in Northeastern U.S. – but what is conspicuously absent is any trace of manmade global warming.
A New Technique
…present day is the coldest period seen in New England in 900 years.
The study was conducted using a relatively new technique involving measuring the quantity of certain chemical compounds, called branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs), found in lakes and soil. They correlate well with temperature variation and can therefore be used as a form of thermometer.What is particularly advantageous about this method is that it allows for a more fine-grained resolution in time. The work, led by doctoral student Daniel Miller, resulted in a temperature measurement every seven years on average during the 900-year interval. This high resolution allowed them to discover a 50-to-60-year temperature cycle hitherto undetected in other studies.
Although this study is only regional, covering a relatively small part of the U.S., one can still find the fingerprints of global climate events. Most notably, the Medieval Warm Period can be clearly seen. A millennium ago, the North Atlantic region was so warm that wine grapes grew in Scotland and Norwegian explorers were able to settle and farm in Greenland. In central Europe, the warm period caused a major economic boom and repopulation and it was during this time that the great cathedrals were built.
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