Late Holocene Water Balance in the Experimental Lakes Area of Canada
Laird, K.R. and Cumming, B.F. 2009. Diatom-inferred lake level from near-shore cores in a drainage lake from the Experimental Lakes Area, northwestern Ontario, Canada. Journal of Paleolimnology 42: 65-80.
Laird and Cumming report there was "a distinct decline in lake level of ~2.5 to 3.0 m from ~800 to 1130 AD." This interval, in their words, "corresponds to an epic drought recorded in many regions of North America from ~800 to 1400 AD," which they say "is often referred to as the Medieval Climatic Anomaly or the Medieval Warm Period, and encompasses 'The Great Drought' of the thirteenth century (Woodhouse and Overpeck, 1998; Woodhouse, 2004; Herweijer et al. 2007)." They also note that the Canadian prairies are currently "experiencing reductions in surface-water availability due to climate warming and human withdrawals (Schindler and Donahue, 2006)," and that "many regions in the western U.S. have experienced water supply deficits in reservoir storage with the recent multi-year drought (Cook et al., 2007)." However, they say "these severe multi-year drought conditions pale in comparison [italics added] to the many widespread megadroughts [italics added] that persisted for decades and sometimes centuries [italics added] in many parts of North America over the last millennium (Woodhouse, 2004)."
The close association between the severity and duration of drought and warmth throughout the affected region of North America suggests that the degree of warmth during the Medieval Warm Period in the Experimental Lakes Area of Canada was likely much greater than the degree of warmth so far experienced there during the Current Warm Period.
Cook, E.R., Seager, R., Cane, M.A. and Stahle, D.W. 2007. North American drought: reconstructions, causes, and consequences. Earth Science Reviews 81: 93-134.
Herweijer, C., Seager, R., Cook, E.R. and Emile-Geay, J. 2007. North American droughts of the last millennium from a gridded network of tree-ring data. Journal of Climate 20: 1353-1376.
Schindler, D.W. and Donahue, W.F. 2006. An impending water crisis in Canada's western prairie provinces. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 103: 7210-7216.
Woodhouse, C.A. 2004. A paleo-perspective on hydroclimatic variability in the western United States. Aquatic Science 66: 346-356.
Woodhouse, C.A. and Overpeck, J.T. 1998. 2000 years of drought variability in the central United States. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 79: 2693-2714.