Fish Genes and Climate from Medieval to Modern Times
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The four Icelandic scientists report findings that are "consistent with an expanding population during the warm medieval period, large historical effective population size (NE), a marked bottleneck event at 1400-1500 and a decrease in NE in early modern times." In fact, they say their historical population size estimates "are extreme compared with modern-day values," but they note that historical documents cite "vast numbers of cod in the North Atlantic at the height of the European fisheries expansion to Iceland and Newfoundland (Cell, 1969; Porsteinsson, 1976)." And they also note in this regard that "previous research on Atlantic cod growth using otoliths from archaeological excavations in Norway showed disruptions of growth patterns in the early sixteenth century, best explained by a significant drop in sea temperatures (Geffen et al., 2011)."
With such a huge difference between the Atlantic cod numbers of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and those of the Current Warm Period (CWP), it would appear that the MWP was significantly warmer than the CWP has been to date.
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Geffen, A.J., Hoie, H., Folkvord, A., Hufthammer, A.K., Andersson, C., Ninnemann, U. and Nedreaas, K. 2011. High-latitude climate variability and its effect on fisheries resources as revealed by fossil cod otoliths. ICES Journal of Marine Science 68: 1081-1089.
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