PerspectiveClimate

The Real Color of Climate Change?

Science  22 Oct 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5696, pp. 621-622
DOI: 10.1126/science.1104416

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Summary

Reconstructions of past temperatures often use a combination of climate "proxies" such as ice cores and tree rings and the instrumental temperature record. How accurate are these reconstructions over time scales of decades to centuries? In their Perspective, Osborn and Briffa highlight the report of von Storch et al., who have simulated the errors associated with climate proxies over these longer time scales. Because of systematic errors that are not taken into account in such reconstructions, the amplitude of the Northern Hemisphere temperature fluctuations over the last millennium may have been underestimated.