Medieval Warm Period

Time of warm climate in the North Atlantic region lasting from c. 950 to c. 1250 Global average temperatures show that the Medieval Warm Period was not a planet-wide phenomenon.

The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) also known as the Medieval Climate Optimum, or Medieval Climatic Anomaly was a time of warm climate in the North Atlantic region lasting from c. 950 to c. 1250. It was likely related to warming elsewhere while some other regions were colder, such as the tropical Pacific. Average global mean temperatures have been calculated to be similar to early-mid-20th-century warming. Possible causes of the Medieval Warm Period include increased solar activity, decreased volcanic activity, and changes to ocean circulation.

The period was followed by a cooler period in the North Atlantic and elsewhere termed the Little Ice Age. Some refer to the event as the Medieval Climatic Anomaly as this term emphasizes that climatic effects other than temperature were important.

It is thought that between c.  950 and c.  1100 was the Northern Hemisphere's warmest period since the Roman Warm Period. It was only in the 20th and 21st centuries that the Northern Hemisphere experienced higher temperatures. Climate proxy records show peak warmth occurred at different times for different regions, indicating that the Medieval Warm Period was not a globally uniform event.

Contents

Initial research

The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) is generally thought to have occurred from c. 950–c. 1250, during the European Middle Ages. In 1965 Hubert Lamb, one of the first paleoclimatologists, published research based on data from botany, historical document research and meteorology, combined with records indicating prevailing temperature and rainfall in England around c. 1200 and around c. 1600. He proposed, "Evidence has been accumulating in many fields of inv... ...read more

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