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Global temperatures

A region-by-region temperature history of the Common Era

Seminar with Thorsten Kiefer, Executive Director of IGBP Past Global Changes project
Tuesday 15 January, 11.00-12.00

Linné Hall, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Lilla Frescativägen 4, Stockholm

Download seminar invitationPDF (pdf, 601.2 kB)

Feel free to post or circulate the announcement. The seminar is open to all interested and free of charge. No registration needed.

Global temperatures have increased over the last decades. Instrumental temperature measurements leave no room for qualified doubt about this observation, but reach back no more than a century and half. This length of time is insufficient to assess, for example, how Earth's climate varied in pre-industrial times. Yet, long-term records are essential if we are to understand climate variability and to isolate the effects of natural and human drivers.

With this in mind, a global network of scientists have reconstructed and analyzed the climate of the last two millennia at a regional scale. A first set of temperature reconstructions based on more than 500 sites worldwide reveals substantial variability through time, but also between regions.

Accordingly, the data showed no globally synchronous warm or cold intervals that would define a worldwide Medieval Climate Anomaly or Little Ice Age. On the other hand, robust features include a millennial-scale cooling trend across almost all regions, reversed by the warming measured over the last few decades.

The seminar will discuss in detail the regional temperature histories and their implications, and demonstrate the virtues of concerted data syntheses by international communities.

About Thorsten Kiefer
Thorsten Kiefer is the Executive Director of IGBP's Past Global Changes project (PAGES), located at the University of Berne in Switzerland. The scope of PAGES covers science that uses pre-instrumental evidence to investigate environmental and climatic changes, natural and anthropogenic, over the past hundreds to millions of years. Thorsten Kiefer's roots as a researcher were at the Universities of Kiel, Germany, and Cambridge, UK, where he analyzed deep-sea sediments for information on past changes in ocean circulation and hydrology. Kiefer is also currently serving as the co-chief-editor of Climate of the Past, an open-access and open-review journal of the European Geosciences Union.

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