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Tree-ring inferred annual mean temperature variations on the southeastern Tibetan Plateau during the last millennium and their relationships with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation

Wang, Jianglin, Yang, Bao, Qin, Chun, Kang, Shuyuan, He, Minhui, Wang, Zhangyong
Climate dynamics 2014 v.43 no.3-4 pp. 627-640
climate, cold, dendrochronology, forests, growth rings, temperature, tree growth, variance, China
We present two tree-ring chronologies for the southeastern Tibetan Plateau (TP), established by applying the signal-free regional curve standardization and standard dendrochronological methodologies to a set of ring-width series of Tibetan juniper. The relationship between tree growth and climate shows that temperature variability in the previous year is the primary factor controlling tree growth at the upper portion of the forest belt. Accordingly, we developed a mean annual temperature reconstruction covering the period A.D. 984–2009 and explaining 50 % of the instrumental variance. The spatial correlation patterns suggest that our temperature reconstruction is a reasonable proxy for temperature change over the TP. At long time scales, the temperature reconstruction shows similar warm-cold patterns to those in temperature records from other regions of the TP, indicating that decadal and multidecadal temperature variations were generally synchronous across the TP during the past millennium. The periods 1140–1350 and 1600–1800 were common warm and cold episodes over the TP, respectively. Comparison of our reconstruction with four Northern Hemisphere (NH) temperature series indicates that temperature changes on the southeastern TP have generally followed the NH temperature patterns during the past millennium. Our results also suggest that temperature variability over the TP is affected by the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), with the warm (cool) phases of the AMO associated with above-average (below-average) temperatures over the TP.