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Climate controls on tree growth in the Western Mediterranean

Touchan, Ramzi, Anchukaitis, Kevin J, Meko, David M, Kerchouche, Dalila, Slimani, Said, Ilmen, Rachid, Hasnaoui, Fouad, Guibal, Frederic, Julio Camarero, Jesus, Sánchez-Salguero, Raúl, Piermattei, Alma, Sesbou, Abdessadek, Cook, Benjamin I, Sabir, Mohamed, Touchane, Hayat
Cedrus atlantica, North Atlantic Oscillation, Pinus halepensis, climate, evapotranspiration, growing season, growth rings, meteorological data, soil water, spring, temperature, tree growth, winter
The first large-scale network of tree-ring chronologies from the western Mediterranean (WM; 32°N–43°N, 10°W–17°E) is described and analyzed to identify the seasonal climatic signal in indices of annual ring width. Correlation and rotated empirical orthogonal function analyses are applied to 85 tree-ring series and corresponding gridded climate data to assess the climate signal embedded in the network. Chronologies range in length from 80 to 1129 years. Monthly correlations and partial correlations show overall positive associations for Pinus halepensis (PIHA) and Cedrus atlantica (CDAT) with winter (December–February) and spring (March–May) precipitation across this network. In both seasons, the precipitation correlation with PIHA is stronger, while CDAT chronologies tend to be longer. A combination of positive correlations between growth and winter–summer precipitation and negative partial correlations with growing season temperatures suggests that chronologies in at least part of the network reflect soil moisture and the integrated effects of precipitation and evapotranspiration signal. The range of climate response observed across this network reflects a combination of both species and geographic influences. Western Moroccan chronologies have the strongest association with the North Atlantic Oscillation.