A frequency-optimised temperature record for the Holocene

Helen Essell, Paul J. Krusic, Jan Esper, Sebastian Wagner, Pascale Braconnot, Johann Jungclaus, Francesco Muschitiello, Clive Oppenheimer, Ulf Büntgen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


Existing global mean surface temperature reconstructions for the Holocene lack high-frequency variability that is essential for contextualising recent trends and extremes in the Earth's climate system. Here, we isolate and recombine archive-specific climate signals to generate a frequency-optimised record of interannual to multi-millennial temperature changes for the past 12 000 years. Average temperatures before ∼8000 years BP and after ∼4000 years BP were 0.26 (±2.84) °C and 0.07 (±2.11) °C cooler than the long-term mean (0–12 000 years BP), while the Holocene Climate Optimum ∼7000–4000 years BP was 0.40 (±1.86) °C warmer. Biased towards Northern Hemisphere summer temperatures, our multi-proxy record captures the spectral properties of transient Earth system model simulations for the same spatial and season domain. The new frequency-optimised trajectory emphasises the importance and complex interplay of natural climate forcing factors throughout the Holocene, with an approximation of the full range of past temperature changes providing novel insights for policymakers addressing the risks of recent anthropogenic warming.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114022
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number11
Early online date17 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


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