Ring-widths of the above tree-line shrub Rhododendron reveal the change of minimum winter temperature over the past 211 years in Southwestern China uri icon

abstract

  • Changes in minimum winter temperature (MWT) and their potential effects on plant growth and development have been gaining increased scientific attention. To better understand these changes across long temporal scales, the present study used dendroclimatological techniques to assess variations in MWT in Southwestern China. Using data from Rhododendron species distributed in areas above the tree-line, a regional composite chronology was generated for a 341-year period. Based on the significant negative correlation between MWT values and ring-width, the most reliable parts of this chronological data were then used to reconstruct MWT values for the past 211 years. This reconstructed MWT series showed decadal to multi-decadal fluctuations. Three distinct cold periods prevailed during 1823-1858, 1882-1891 and 1922-1965, while four warm intervals occurred in 1800-1822, 1858-1881, 1892-1921 and 1966-2011. Our reconstructed MWT reveals a warming trend over the most recent eight decades, which is in agreement with instrumental observations. However, the MWT values and rate of warming over the past seven decades did not exceed those found in the reconstructed temperature data for the past 211 years. Spatial correlations reveal that the MWT in Southwest China is strongly associated with regional temperatures in the Eastern and Central Himalaya, Northern China, and the Indian Peninsula. Larger scale climate oscillations of the Western Pacific and Northern Indian Ocean as well as the North Atlantic Oscillation probably influenced the region's temperature in the past.
  • Changes in minimum winter temperature (MWT) and their potential effects on plant growth and development have been gaining increased scientific attention. To better understand these changes across long temporal scales, the present study used dendroclimatological techniques to assess variations in MWT in Southwestern China. Using data from Rhododendron species distributed in areas above the tree-line, a regional composite chronology was generated for a 341-year period. Based on the significant negative correlation between MWT values and ring-width, the most reliable parts of this chronological data were then used to reconstruct MWT values for the past 211 years. This reconstructed MWT series showed decadal to multi-decadal fluctuations. Three distinct cold periods prevailed during 1823â??1858, 1882â??1891 and 1922â??1965, while four warm intervals occurred in 1800â??1822, 1858â??1881, 1892â??1921 and 1966â??2011. Our reconstructed MWT reveals a warming trend over the most recent eight decades, which is in agreement with instrumental observations. However, the MWT values and rate of warming over the past seven decades did not exceed those found in the reconstructed temperature data for the past 211 years. Spatial correlations reveal that the MWT in Southwest China is strongly associated with regional temperatures in the Eastern and Central Himalaya, Northern China, and the Indian Peninsula. Larger scale climate oscillations of the Western Pacific and Northern Indian Ocean as well as the North Atlantic Oscillation probably influenced the regionâ??s temperature in the past. © 2016, The Author(s)

publication date

  • 2017
  • 2017
  • 2017