By Kenneth Richard on 16. March 2023
“Chironomid‐based temperature reconstructions in the central eastern Alps showed…between ca. 10 000 and 8600 cal a BP…a thermal maximum of up to 4.5°C higher temperatures than present” – Caf et al., 2023
With the exception of a century or two during the Little Ice Age (~1500-1900 CE), the European Alps have had a much higher concentration of beech (Fagus) and spruce (Picea) forest presence than today for nearly all of the last 10,000 years (Caf et al., 2023).
The much more heavily vegetated and forested area – which coincides with a warmer climate – can be clearly observed in the reconstructions of Holocene tree and shrub presence.
In the images below, notice how much greater the Alpine forest coverage was during the Medieval Warm Period (~600 to 1000 CE) and the 8 to 10 millennia preceding it.
Even during the last 400-500 years, encompassing the Little Ice Age, there were as-warm or warmer periods than today.
So, once again, we have another study affirming the modern climate is not only not unusually warm, but actually we are currently living in one the coldest climatic periods since the end of the last glacial.
Image Source: Caf et al., 2023
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