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Sunshine duration reconstruction in the southeastern Tibetan Plateau based on tree-ring width and its relationship to volcanic eruptions

Sun, Changfeng, Liu, Yu, Song, Huiming, Cai, Qiufang, Li, Qiang, Wang, Lu, Mei, Ruochen, Fang, Congxi
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.628-629 pp. 707-714
Abies forrestii, aerosols, drought, growth rings, mountains, regression analysis, solar radiation, temperature, tree growth, variance, China
Sunshine is as essential as temperature and precipitation for tree growth, but sunshine duration reconstructions based on tree rings have not yet been conducted in China. In this study, we presented a 497-year sunshine duration reconstruction for the southeastern Tibetan Plateau using a width chronology of Abies forrestii from the central Hengduan Mountains. The reconstruction accounted for 53.5% of the variance in the observed sunshine during the period of 1961–2013 based on a stable and reliable linear regression. This reconstructed sunshine duration contained six sunny periods (1630–1656, 1665–1697, 1731–1781, 1793–1836, 1862–1895 and 1910–1992) and seven cloudy periods (1522–1629, 1657–1664, 1698–1730, 1782–1792, 1837–1861, 1896–1909 and 1993–2008) at a low-frequency scale. There was an increasing trend from the 16th century to the late 18th and early 19th centuries and a decreasing trend from the mid-19th to the early 21st centuries. Sunshine displayed inverse patterns to the local Palmer drought severity index on a multidecadal scale, indicating that this region likely experienced droughts under more sunshine conditions. The decrease in sunshine particularly in recent decades was mainly due to increasing atmospheric anthropogenic aerosols. In terms of the interannual variations in sunshine, weak sunshine years matched well with years of major volcanic eruptions. The significant cycles of the 2- to 7-year, 20.0-year and 35.2-year durations as well as the 60.2-year and 78.7-year durations related to the El-Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation suggested that the variation in sunshine duration in the southeastern Tibetan Plateau was possibly affected by large-scale ocean-atmosphere circulations.