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Evidence of solar activity and El Niño signals in tree rings of Araucaria araucana and A. angustifolia in South America

Perone, A., Lombardi, F., Marchetti, M., Tognetti, R., Lasserre, B.
Global and planetary change 2016 v.145 pp. 1-10
Araucaria angustifolia, Araucaria araucana, El Nino, climate, dendroclimatology, growth rings, spectral analysis, temperature, time series analysis, tree growth, trees, wavelet, Argentina, Brazil, Chile
Tree rings reveal climatic variations through years, but also the effect of solar activity in influencing the climate on a large scale. In order to investigate the role of solar cycles on climatic variability and to analyse their influences on tree growth, we focused on tree-ring chronologies of Araucaria angustifolia and Araucaria araucana in four study areas: Irati and Curitiba in Brazil, Caviahue in Chile, and Tolhuaca in Argentina. We obtained an average tree-ring chronology of 218, 117, 439, and 849years for these areas, respectively. Particularly, the older chronologies also included the period of the Maunder and Dalton minima. To identify periodicities and trends observable in tree growth, the time series were analysed using spectral, wavelet and cross-wavelet techniques. Analysis based on the Multitaper method of annual growth rates identified 2cycles with periodicities of 11 (Schwebe cycle) and 5.5years (second harmonic of Schwebe cycle). In the Chilean and Argentinian sites, significant agreement between the time series of tree rings and the 11-year solar cycle was found during the periods of maximum solar activity. Results also showed oscillation with periods of 2–7years, probably induced by local environmental variations, and possibly also related to the El-Niño events. Moreover, the Morlet complex wavelet analysis was applied to study the most relevant variability factors affecting tree-ring time series. Finally, we applied the cross-wavelet spectral analysis to evaluate the time lags between tree-ring and sunspot-number time series, as well as for the interaction between tree rings, the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) and temperature and precipitation. Trees sampled in Chile and Argentina showed more evident responses of fluctuations in tree-ring time series to the variations of short and long periodicities in comparison with the Brazilian ones. These results provided new evidence on the solar activity-climate pattern-tree ring connections over centuries.