Old World megadroughts and pluvials during the Common Era

Edward R. Cook, Richard Seager, Yochanan Kushnir, Keith R. Briffa, Ulf Büntgen, David Frank, Paul J. Krusic, Willy Tegel, Gerard van der Schrier, Laia Andreu-Hayles, Mike Baillie, Claudia Baittinger, Niels Bleicher, Niels Bonde, David Brown, Marco Carrer, Richard Cooper, Katarina Čufar, Christoph Dittmar, Jan EsperCarol Griggs, Björn Gunnarson, Björn Günther, Emilia Gutierrez, Kristof Haneca, Samuli Helama, Franz Herzig, Karl-Uwe Heussner, Jutta Hofmann, Pavel Janda, Raymond Kontic, Nesibe Köse, Tomáš Kyncl, Tom Levaniv c, Hans Linderholm, Sturt Manning, Thomas M. Melvin, Daniel Miles, Burkhard Neuwirth, Kurt Nicolussi, Paola Nola, Momchil Panayotov, Ionel Popa, Andreas Rothe, Kristina Seftigen, Andrea Seim, Helene Svarva, Miroslav Svoboda, Terje Thun, Mauri Timonen, Ramzi Touchan, Volodymyr Trotsiuk, Valerie Trouet, Felix Walder, Tomasz Wazny, Rob Wilson, Christian Zang

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1500561
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalScience Advances
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2015


  • Drought atlas
  • Megadrought
  • Dendroclimatology
  • Tree-ring reconstruction
  • Mediterranean drying
  • Climate change
  • Greenhouse gas forcing


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  • Old World megadroughts and pluvials during the Common Era. (dataset)

    Cook, E. R. (Creator), Seager, R. (Creator), Kushnir, Y. (Creator), Briffa, K. R. (Creator), Büntgen, U. (Creator), Frank, D. (Creator), Krusic, P. J. (Creator), Tegel, W. (Creator), an der Schrier, G. V. (Creator), Andreu-Hayles, L. (Creator), Baillie, M. (Creator), Baittinger, C. (Creator), Bleicher, N. (Creator), Bonde, N. (Creator), Brown, D. (Creator), Carrer, M. (Creator), Cooper, R. (Creator), Čufar, K. (Creator), Dittmar, C. (Creator), Esper, J. (Creator), Griggs, C. (Creator), Gunnarson, B. (Creator), Günther, B. (Creator), Gutierrez, E. (Creator), Haneca, K. (Creator), Helama, S. (Creator), Herzig, F. (Creator), Heussner, K. (Creator), Hofmann, J. (Creator), Janda, P. (Creator), Kontic, R. (Creator), Köse, N. (Creator), Kyncl, T. (Creator), Levaniv c, T. (Creator), Linderholm, H. (Creator), Manning, S. (Creator), Melvin, T. M. (Creator), Miles, D. (Creator), Neuwirth, B. (Creator), Nicolussi, K. (Creator), Nola, P. (Creator), Panayotov, M. (Creator), Popa, I. (Creator), Rothe, A. (Creator), Seftigen, K. (Creator), Seim, A. (Creator), Svarva, H. (Creator), Svoboda, M. (Creator), Thun, T. (Creator), Timonen, M. (Creator), Touchan, R. (Creator), Trotsiuk, V. (Creator), Trouet, V. (Creator), Walder, F. (Creator), Wazny, T. (Creator), Wilson, R. (Creator) & Zang, C. (Creator), National centers for environmental information, 6 Nov 2015


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