Global warming in the context of 2000 years of Australian alpine temperature and snow cover

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Abstract

Annual resolution reconstructions of alpine temperatures are rare, particularly for the Southern Hemisphere, while no snow cover reconstructions exist. These records are essential to place in context the impact of anthropogenic global warming against historical major natural climate events such as the Roman Warm Period (RWP), Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) and Little Ice Age (LIA). Here we show for a marginal alpine region of Australia using a carbon isotope speleothem reconstruction, warming over the past five decades has experienced equivalent magnitude of temperature change and snow cover decline to the RWP and MCA. The current rate of warming is unmatched for the past 2000 years and seasonal snow cover is at a minimum. On scales of several decades, mean maximum temperatures have undergone considerable change ≈ ± 0.8 °C highlighting local scale susceptibility to rapid temperature change, evidence of which is often masked in regional to hemisphere scale temperature reconstructions.
Peer-reviewedYes
Original languageEnglish
Article number4394
JournalScientific Reports
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018


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