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Late-Holocene Climate of the Eastern Slope of the Northern Urals

Paper Reviewed
Antipina, T.G., Panova, N.K. and Korona, O.M. 2014. The Holocene dynamics of vegetation and environmental conditions on the eastern slope of the Northern Urals. Russian Journal of Ecology 45: 351-358.

In introducing this climate-of-the-past study - which was published in the Russian Journal of Ecology - Antipina et al. (2014) write that "analysis of the Holocene dynamics of vegetation and natural environment is especially relevant," as it provides "insight into relationships of changes in natural plant ecosystems with climatic changes." And in the case of this particular study, they describe "changes in the vegetation and climatic conditions on the eastern slope of the Northern Urals in the second half of the Holocene as reconstructed on the basis of integrated palynological, botanical, paleocarpological, and radiocarbon analysis of material from a peat bog section in the floodplain of the Loz va River" at approximately 61°02' N, 60°03' E. And what did they find?

The three Russian researchers say their data show that "the study region in the Subboreal and Subatlantic periods of the Holocene was occupied by forests of southern taiga facies with composition similar to that of present-day dark conifer forests on the western macroslope of the Urals and in bordering regions of the East European Plain," noting that the climate of those earlier times "was significantly warmer than it is today." But how much warmer? ... one might ask. "Taking into account climatic conditions favorable for these forest formations," Antipina et al. say "it may be assumed that summer and winter temperatures in the study region at that time" - "between approximately 5000 and 700 years BP" - "were higher than today by approximately 1°C and 3-4°C, respectively."

These results forcefully demonstrate that there is nothing unusual, unnatural or unprecedented about temperatures around the globe today. And they harmonize with the findings of Karl et al. (1984, 1991), who found that the global warming of Earth's recent past was characterized by daily minimum temperatures that rose three times more than daily maximum temperatures rose, which demonstrates that on time scales ranging from days to seasons, when there is an impetus for warming, lower temperatures typically rise more than higher temperatures rise in response to a common forcing.

Karl, T.R., Jones, P.D., Knight, R.W., Kukla, G., Plummer, N., Razuvayev, V., Gallo, K.P., Lindseay, J., Charlson, R.J. and Peterson, T.C. 1984. A new perspective on recent global warming: asymmetric trends of daily maximum and minimum temperature. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 74: 1007-1023.

Karl, T.R., Kukla, G., Razuvayev, N., Changery, M.J., Quayle, R.G., Heim, R.R., Easterling, D.R. and Fu, C.B. 1991. Global warming - evidence for asymmetric diurnal temperature-change. Geophysical Research Letters 18: 2253-2256.

Posted 15 January 2015