What we talk about when we talk about seasonality – A transdisciplinary review

Kwiecien, Ola, Braun, Tobias, Brunello, Camilla Francesca, Faulkner, Patrick, Hausmann, Niklas, Helle, Gerd, Hoggarth, Julie A., Ionita, Monica, Jazwa, Chris, Kelmelis, Saige, Marwan, Norbert, Nava-Fernandez, Cinthya, Nehme, Carole, Opel, Thomas, Oster, Jessica L., Perşoiu, Aurel, Petrie, Cameron, Prufer, Keith, Saarni, Saija M., Wolf, Annabel and Breitenbach, Sebastian (2022) What we talk about when we talk about seasonality – A transdisciplinary review. Earth-Science Reviews, 225. p. 103843. ISSN 0012-8252

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2021.103843


The role of seasonality is indisputable in climate and ecosystem dynamics. Seasonal temperature and precipitation variability are of vital importance for the availability of food, water, shelter, migration routes, and raw materials. Thus, understanding past climatic and environmental changes at seasonal scale is equally important for unearthing the history and for predicting the future of human societies under global warming scenarios. Alas, in palaeoenvironmental research, the term ‘seasonality change’ is often used liberally without scrutiny or explanation as to which seasonal parameter has changed and how.

Here we provide fundamentals of climate seasonality and break it down into external (insolation changes) and internal (atmospheric CO2 concentration) forcing, and regional and local and modulating factors (continentality, altitude, large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns). Further, we present a brief overview of the archives with potentially annual/seasonal resolution (historical and instrumental records, marine invertebrate growth increments, stalagmites, tree rings, lake sediments, permafrost, cave ice, and ice cores) and discuss archive-specific challenges and opportunities, and how these limit or foster the use of specific archives in archaeological research.

Next, we address the need for adequate data-quality checks, involving both archive-specific nature (e.g., limited sampling resolution or seasonal sampling bias) and analytical uncertainties. To this end, we present a broad spectrum of carefully selected statistical methods which can be applied to analyze annually- and seasonally-resolved time series. We close the manuscript by proposing a framework for transparent communication of seasonality-related research across different communities.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: Chris Jazwa received financial support for the data collection from the National Science Foundation (grant NSF BCS-1724639). Tobias Braun received financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in the context of the DFG project MA4759/11-1 ‘Nonlinear empirical mode analysis of complex systems: Development of general approach and application in climate’. Aurel Perşoiu was supported by a grant of the Romanian Ministry of Education and Research, CNCS - UEFISCDI, project number PN-III-P4-ID-PCE-2020-2723, within PNCDI III. Monica Ionita was supported by Helmholtz Association through the joint program “Changing Earth - Sustaining our Future” (PoF IV) program of the AWI.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Seasonality, Speleothems, Varves, Invertebrates, Tree rings, Statistics, Archaeology, Historical climatology, Cave ice, Permafrost
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2021 09:18
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2022 08:08
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/47617

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