Hot summers ahead? Multi-decadal spring season warming precedes sudden summer temperature rise in pre-anthropogenic climate change

Margret Steinthorsdottir*, Friederike Wagner-Cremer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Waning annual seasonality is documented in an up to one-month advance in spring onset since the 1980’s in northern latitudes, perturbing ecosystems and socio-economic performance. Summer temperatures, in contrast, have been rising only recently, indicating an offset in seasonal warming. The limited time span of this observational data makes the asynchronous pattern difficult to quantify, hindering projections of intra-annual dynamics. We explore temporal phase relations of seasonal warming over the Late Pleniglacial/Bølling and the Younger Dryas/Holocene climate transitions that preceded present anthropogenic warming. We determine past spring onset and thermal properties from dwarf birch paleo-phenology. Reconstructed spring warming led maximum summer warming by about a century during both transitions. Long-term reconstruction of intra-annual temperature regimes provides the perspective required for seasonal response analysis. Our results document that multi-decadal spring season warming precedes sudden summer temperature rise also during natural climate change. The rapidity of present seasonality changes, however, is unprecedented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-180
Number of pages6
JournalGFF
Volume141
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019

Keywords

  • arctic amplification
  • birch
  • Climate change
  • global warming
  • phenology
  • quaternary warming episodes
  • seasonality
  • spring onset
  • undulation index

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