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The Northeast Tibetan Plateau's Medieval Warm Period
Tan, L., Cai, Y., An, Z. and Ai, L. 2008. Precipitation variations of Longxi, northeast margin of Tibetan Plateau since AD 960 and their relationship with solar activity. Climate of the Past 4: 19-28.

What was done
The authors developed a precipitation history of the Longxi area of the Tibetan Plateau's northeast margin since AD 960 based on an analysis of Chinese historical records, after which they compared the result with the same-period Northern Hemisphere temperature record and contemporaneous atmospheric 14C and 10Be histories.

What was learned
Tan et al. discovered, in their words, that "high precipitation of Longxi corresponds to high temperature of the Northern Hemisphere, and low precipitation of Longxi corresponds to low temperature of the Northern Hemisphere." Consequently, their precipitation record may be used to infer a Medieval Warm Period that stretched from approximately AD 960 to 1230, with temperature peaks in the vicinity of AD 1000 and 1215 that clearly exceeded the 20th-century peak temperature of the Current Warm Period. They also found "good coherences among the precipitation variations of Longxi and variations of atmospheric 14C concentration, the averaged 10Be record and the reconstructed solar modulation record," which findings harmonize, in their words, with "numerous studies [that] show that solar activity is the main force that drives regional climate changes in the Holocene," in support of which statement they attach 22 other scientific references.

What it means
The researchers ultimately concluded that the "synchronous variations between Longxi precipitation and Northern Hemisphere temperature may be ascribed to solar activity, " which apparently produced a Medieval Warm Period that was both longer and stronger than what has been experienced to date during the Current Warm Period in the northeast margin of the Tibetan Plateau.

Reviewed 18 June 2008