Little Ice Age
This image is a comparison of 10 different published reconstructions of mean temperature changes during the last 2,000 years. More recent reconstructions are plotted toward the front and in redder colors, older reconstructions appear towards the back and in bluer colors. An instrumental history of temperature is also shown in black. The medieval warm period and Little Ice Age are labeled at roughly the times when they are historically believed to occur, though it is still disputed whether these were truly global or only regional events. The single, unsmoothed annual value for 2004 is also shown for comparison.
It is unknown which, if any, of these reconstructions is an accurate representation of climate history; however, these curves are a fair representation of the range of results appearing in the published scientific literature. Hence, it is likely that such reconstructions, accurate or not, will play a significant role in the ongoing discussions of global climate change and global warming.
For each reconstruction, the raw data has been decadally smoothed with a a = 5 yr Gaussian weighted moving average. Also, each reconstruction was adjusted so that its mean matched the mean of the instrumental record during the period of overlap.
Was this article helpful?