While I was away, there was a bit of a kerfuffle over the new paper by Esper et al. The authors claimed that Northern European temperatures were warmer than today in both the Medieval and Roman Warm Periods. Anthony reported the story at the time.
The kerfuffle came over subsequent newspaper claims that the paper disproved the AGW hypothesis (I haven't seen these claims myself, but no doubt they are out there). Readers may therefore be interested to see the response of Rob Wilson, one of the co-authors of the paper and an occasional commenter here, in his local newspaper, the Dundee Courier.
Some climate change sceptics have leapt on this as proof global warming does not exist, but Mr Wilson said no such conclusion could be drawn from a study which concentrated on one geographic area.
He said it has become ''expected'' people on both sides of the climate change argument will seize on certain parts of research to back up their own arguments, ignoring other data does not support their conclusions.
''It can come from both sides and I think there will be a few climatologists on the other side who will find issue with some of our findings,'' he said.
However, he made it clear the study does not disprove rising temperatures since the start of the 20th century are down to the actions of humankind.
I make a similar point myself in the Hockey Stick Illusion. Current temperatures can be entirely precedented and the AGW hypothesis could still be true. Equally, temperatures can be unprecedented and the hypothesis could be false.
That said, if temperatures do turn out to be nothing out of the ordinary (and I don't think we know either way yet), then it does rather reduce the cause for immediate alarm.