Tree-ring based drought reconstruction in the central Hengduan Mountains region (China) since A.D. 1655



We developed four tree ring-width chronologies of three species (Picea likiangensis Pritz, Tsuga dumosa (D. Don) Eichler and Abies ernestii Rehd.) in the central Hengduan Mountains, north-western Yunnan, China. Although the four chronologies come from different species, significant correlations exist among the chronologies (mean r = 0.47), and the first principal component accounts for 60.5% of total variance over their common period 1655–2005. Correlation and response function analyses showed that pre-monsoon (March, April) precipitation and relative humidity and Palmer drought severity index (PDSI) have positive effects on radial growth, while temperature in March influences tree growth negatively. This indicates that tree growth is generally limited by spring-moisture availability. The spring (March–May) drought reconstruction was verified with independent data, and accounts for 42% of the actual PDSI variance during their common period 1951–2000. Wet springs occurred during AD 1690s, 1715–1730, 1750s, 1780s, 1825–1850, 1900s, 1930–1960, and 1990–present. Dry springs occurred during AD 1700–1715, 1733–1745, 1790–1820, 1860–1890, 1910–1925, and 1960–1990. Copyright © 2008 Royal Meteorological Society