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Gao, Chaochao; Ludlow, Francis; Amir, Or; Kostick, Conor (2016): Reconciling multiple ice-core volcanic histories: The potential of tree-ring and documentary evidence, 670-730 CE. In: Quaternary international, Vol. 394: pp. 180-193
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Chronologically-secure volcanic event histories are important for improving our understanding of volcano-climate responses, and securing ice core chronologies. We present an exploratory case-study that attempts to reconcile the chemical fingerprints of major volcanism in Greenland ice-cores for the years 670-730 CE. This period experienced considerable volcanic perturbation with multiple volcanic signals registered in all 8 Greenland ice-core datasets studied, including some comparable in magnitude to the great 1815 Tambora eruption, but reconciling signals with divergent dating between datasets presents a number of challenges. To further our understanding of the volcanic history of this period, frost-rings, tree-ring growth width and density minima from Europe, Siberia and China are considered together with Western European, Near Eastern and Chinese documentary evidence. These reveal a striking sequence of co-occurring inter-regional climatic extremes and social crises. We further examine a recently proposed 7-year adjustment to the GICC05 chronology used by many Greenland ice cores, and find that this results in a more coherent volcanic history for these years, and an improved agreement with tree-ring and written records. Three major volcanic events can now be identified, dated to 681, 684 -686 and 706-707, with several moderate events further contributing to a sustained climate perturbation reflected in prolonged temperature reductions in high-resolution reconstructions. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. All rights reserved.