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No, Rising Temperatures are not “Normal”

During the Medieval Era (500 - 1500 AD), temperatures started to rise due to increases in solar activity, naturally warming the Earth. This brief warming period fuels misconceptions by climate deniers that the Medieval Era was warmer than the current climate crisis. However, new research completely refutes this claim by comparing tree ring cells from the Medieval Era to those from the present.

An image of many tree rings.

Usually, tree rings grow thinner when exposed to colder and drier weather, whereas tree rings expand or grow wider when exposed to hotter, wetter temperatures. Researchers examined the tree ring cells from 118 Pinus sylvestris trees in Sweden and Finland to compare the difference in width from the Medieval Era to now. Ultimately, they found that the world is currently at the warmest it has been in the past 1,200 years, demonstrating that recent temperatures are rising at unprecedented rates and illustrating the impact of humans on the environment.


How can you help?

  1. Joining Kids Fight Climate Change: If you want to make climate change news and information more accessible, you should consider joining us! Check out this link: Join the Team | Kids Fight Climate Change: Youth Climate Education. There are more opportunities than just writing, including designing, editing, speaking, and publishing.

  2. Volunteering at advocacy groups: VolunteerMatch is a great resource to find volunteer opportunities, virtual and in-person. Check out this link: VolunteerMatch

  3. If neither of those options applies to you, there are still ways to raise awareness! Simply by sharing articles such as this one, you are doing your part to spread important climate information. That is activism.

Sources

Chang, Kenneth. “Tree Rings Show a Period of Widespread Warming in Medieval Age.” The New York Times, March 26, 2002. https://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/26/science/tree-rings-show-a-period-of-widespread-warming-in-medieval-age.html.


Youmshajekian, Lori, Richard Schiffman, and Jeff Goodell. “Was the Medieval Era Warmer than Now? New Tree Ring Study Offers Insight.” Yale E360, August 4, 2023. https://e360.yale.edu/digest/tree-ring-study-medieval-warm-period.


Björklund, Jesper, Kristina Seftigen, Markus Stoffel, Marina V. Fonti, Sven Kottlow, David C. Frank, Jan Esper, et al. “Fennoscandian Tree-Ring Anatomy Shows a Warmer Modern than Medieval Climate.” Nature 620 (August 2023): 97-103. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-023-06176-4.


Kusma, Stephanie. “Tree Rings Reveal: It Has Never Been This Warm in the Past 1200 Years.” Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, February 8, 2023. https://www.wsl.ch/en/news/2023/06/tree-rings-reveal-it-has-never-been-this-warm-in-the-past-1200-years.html.



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