Robustness of proxy-based climate field reconstruction methods

Michael E. Mann, Scott Rutherford, Eugene Wahl, Caspar Ammann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


We present results from continued investigations into the fidelity of covariance-based climate field reconstruction (CFR) approaches used in proxy-based climate reconstruction. Our experiments employ synthetic "pseudoproxy" data derived from simulations of forced climate changes over the past millennium. Using networks of these pseudoproxy data, we investigate the sensitivity of CFR performance to signal-to-noise ratios, the noise spectrum, the spatial sampling of pseudoproxy locations, the statistical representation of predictors used, and the diagnostic used to quantify reconstruction skill. Our results reinforce previous conclusions that CFR methods, correctly implemented and applied to suitable networks of proxy data, should yield reliable reconstructions of past climate histories within estimated uncertainties. Our results also demonstrate the deleterious impact of a linear detrending procedure performed recently in certain CFR studies and illustrate flaws in some previously proposed metrics of reconstruction skill.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberD12109
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 27 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology


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