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A ring-width-based reconstruction of June–July minimum temperatures since AD 1245 from white spruce stands in the Mackenzie Delta region, northwestern Canada

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Trevor J. Porter*
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
Michael F.J. Pisaric
Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada Department of Geography, Brock University, St. Catharines, Canada
Steven V. Kokelj
Renewable Resources and Environment, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Northwest Territories Geoscience Office, Yellowknife, Canada
Peter deMontigny
Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
*Corresponding author at: Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. Fax: + 1 780 492 2030. E-mail (T.J. Porter)., URL: (T.J. Porter).


We present a reconstruction of June–July minimum temperatures since AD 1245 for the Mackenzie Delta region based on a 29-site network of white spruce (Picea glauca) ring-width series. Most but not all trees experienced a divergent temperature–growth response, similar to the divergence that has affected other white spruce trees across Yukon and Alaska. However, divergence in the study region began as early as AD 1900 and we have documented our methods to avoid including divergent signals in the reconstruction. Calibration/verification testing based on local temperature data, and multi-century coherence with nearby and large-scale temperature proxy records, confirm that our reconstruction is robust. The reconstruction shows cool conditions in the late 13th, early 18th and early 19th centuries, corresponding with solar minima and increased volcanism. These cool periods are interrupted by warm periods consistent with early to mid-20th century warmth. The late 20th century is the warmest interval, and the last decade is estimated to be 1.4°C warmer than any decade before the mid-20th century. The reconstructed climate history corroborates other proxy-based inferences and supports the notion that high-latitude regions such as the Mackenzie Delta have experienced rapid warming in recent decades that is exceptional in the last eight centuries.

Original Articles
University of Washington

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