Change Points and Temporal Dependence in Reconstructions of Annual Temperature: Did Europe Experience a Little Ice Age?
43 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2013 Last revised: 3 Jun 2019
Date Written: October 25, 2013
We analyze the timing and extent of northern European temperature falls during the Little Ice Age, using standard temperature reconstructions. However, we can find little evidence of temporal dependence or structural breaks in European weather before the twentieth century. Instead, European weather between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries resembles uncorrelated draws from a distribution with a constant mean (although there are occasional decades of markedly lower summer temperature) and variance; with the same behaviour holding more tentatively back to the twelfth century. Our results suggest that the existing consensus about a Little Ice Age in Europe may stem from a Slutsky effect, where smoothing data, the standard practice in climatology, gives the spurious appearance of irregular oscillations when the underlying time series is random.
Keywords: Europe, Little Ice Age, economic history
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation