Edward R. Cook 1 , * , Richard Seager 1 , Yochanan Kushnir 1 , Keith R. Briffa 2 , Ulf Büntgen 3 , David Frank 3 , Paul J. Krusic 4 , Willy Tegel 5 , Gerard van der Schrier 6 , Laia Andreu-Hayles 1 , Mike Baillie 7 , Claudia Baittinger 8 , Niels Bleicher 9 , Niels Bonde 8 , David Brown 7 , Marco Carrer 10 , Richard Cooper 2 , Katarina Čufar 11 , Christoph Dittmar 12 , Jan Esper 13 , Carol Griggs 14 , Björn Gunnarson 15 , Björn Günther 16 , Emilia Gutierrez 17 , Kristof Haneca 18 , Samuli Helama 19 , Franz Herzig 20 , Karl-Uwe Heussner 21 , Jutta Hofmann 22 , Pavel Janda 23 , Raymond Kontic 24 , Nesibe Köse 25 , Tomáš Kyncl 26 , Tom Levanič 27 , Hans Linderholm 28 , Sturt Manning 14 , Thomas M. Melvin 2 , Daniel Miles 29 , Burkhard Neuwirth 30 , Kurt Nicolussi 31 , Paola Nola 32 , Momchil Panayotov 33 , Ionel Popa 34 , Andreas Rothe 35 , Kristina Seftigen 28 , Andrea Seim 28 , Helene Svarva 36 , Miroslav Svoboda 23 , Terje Thun 36 , Mauri Timonen 19 , Ramzi Touchan 37 , Volodymyr Trotsiuk 23 , Valerie Trouet 37 , Felix Walder 9 , Tomasz Ważny 37 , 38 , Rob Wilson 39 , Christian Zang 40
06 November 2015
An atlas of megadroughts in Europe and in the Mediterranean Basin during the Common Era provides insights into climate variability.
Climate model projections suggest widespread drying in the Mediterranean Basin and wetting in Fennoscandia in the coming decades largely as a consequence of greenhouse gas forcing of climate. To place these and other “Old World” climate projections into historical perspective based on more complete estimates of natural hydroclimatic variability, we have developed the “Old World Drought Atlas” (OWDA), a set of year-to-year maps of tree-ring reconstructed summer wetness and dryness over Europe and the Mediterranean Basin during the Common Era. The OWDA matches historical accounts of severe drought and wetness with a spatial completeness not previously available. In addition, megadroughts reconstructed over north-central Europe in the 11th and mid-15th centuries reinforce other evidence from North America and Asia that droughts were more severe, extensive, and prolonged over Northern Hemisphere land areas before the 20th century, with an inadequate understanding of their causes. The OWDA provides new data to determine the causes of Old World drought and wetness and attribute past climate variability to forced and/or internal variability.