Medieval Climate Anomaly Now Confirmed In Southern Hemisphere On All Four Continents


In Medieval times, the penguins had it nice and warm

By Die kalte Sonne
(German text translated in the English by P Gosselin)

For a long time it has been said that the Medieval Warm Period was a purely North Atlantic phenomenon. This has proved to be wrong.

On 29 June 2019, a paper by Lüning et al. 2019 on the Medieval Warm Period in Antarctica appeared in the trade journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Here is the abstract:

The Medieval Climate Anomaly in Antarctica
The Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) is a well-recognized climate perturbation in many parts of the world, with a core period of 1000–1200?CE. Here we are mapping the MCA across the Antarctic region based on the analysis of published palaeotemperature proxy data from 60 sites. In addition to the conventionally used ice core data, we are integrating temperature proxy records from marine and terrestrial sediment cores as well as radiocarbon ages of glacier moraines and elephant seal colonies. A generally warm MCA compared to the subsequent Little Ice Age (LIA) was found for the Subantarctic Islands south of the Antarctic Convergence, the Antarctic Peninsula, Victoria Land and central West Antarctica. A somewhat less clear MCA warm signal was detected for the majority of East Antarctica. MCA cooling occurred in the Ross Ice Shelf region, and probably in the Weddell Sea and on Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf. Spatial distribution of MCA cooling and warming follows modern dipole patterns, as reflected by areas of opposing temperature trends. Main drivers of the multi-centennial scale climate variability appear to be the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) and El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) which are linked to solar activity changes by nonlinear dynamics.

With the publication of this paper, the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) has now been confirmed on all four continents of the southern hemisphere. While the largest part of the southern hemisphere apparently experienced a warm phase during the MCA, there were also isolated areas that cooled down. To the latter regions belong, for example, coasts, where cold water from the depth rose increasingly. In other areas so-called climate seesaws or dipoles were active, as we know them from today’s climate. One end of the “seesaw” heats up, the other end cools down.

Another result of the studies is that the medieval climate history of huge areas in the southern hemisphere is simply unknown. A task force urgently needs to be set up to fill in this climatic “empty space” with information on pre-industrial temperature development. This information is urgently needed to calibrate the climate models on the basis of which far-reaching socio-political planning is currently taking place.


What follows are publications on the Medieval Period climate of the southern hemisphere as an overview:

Lüning, S., M. Ga?ka, F. Vahrenholt (2019): The Medieval Climate Anomaly in Antarctica. Palaeogeogr., Palaeoclimatol., Palaeoecol., doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2019.109251

Lüning, S., M. Ga?ka, F. García-Rodríguez, F. Vahrenholt (2019): The Medieval Climate Anomaly in Oceania. Environmental Reviews, online Just-IN, doi: 10.1139/er-2019-0012

Lüning, S., M. Ga?ka, F. P. Bamonte, F. García-Rodríguez, F. Vahrenholt (2019): The Medieval Climate Anomaly in South America. Quaternary International, 508: 70-87. doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2018.10.041.

Lüning, S., M. Ga?ka, F. Vahrenholt (2017): Warming and cooling: The Medieval Climate Anomaly in Africa and Arabia. Paleoceanography 32 (11): 1219-1235, doi: 10.1002/2017PA003237.

All supporters of the studies once again receive our deepest thanks. At the start of the project, a devoted crowdfunding team gave the studies a strong boost.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.