Tree rings, volcanoes and climate 7 March 2012Posted by admin in climate, current research.
Is dendrochronology always a reliable guide to past climatic variations? And apropos the theory that large volcanic eruptions in the latter half of the thirteenth century AD were responsible for the cool period known as the Little Ice Age (LIA), can it perhaps be argued that the eruption did not so much begin the LIA as end the MWP (Medieval Warm Period)? That kind of conceptual re-focusing appeals to me as a historian. It is the type of game historians (well aware that all periodization is a human construct) like to play: flip the structuring principles you apply to the past around and see what difference it makes. And what do the trees say?
These musings are provoked by this article at Bits of Science. Have a look and see what you think.