, Volume 21, Issue 7-8, pp 699-706
Date: 21 Oct 2003

Temperature-sensitive Tien Shan tree ring chronologies show multi-centennial growth trends

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Abstract

Two millennia-length juniper ring width chronologies, processed to preserve multi-centennial growth trends, are presented for the Alai Range of the western Tien Shan in Kirghizia. The chronologies average the information from seven near-timberline sampling sites, and likely reflect summer temperature variation. For comparison, chronologies are also built using standard dendrochronological techniques. We briefly discuss some qualities of these “inter-decadal” records, and show the low frequency components removed by the standardization process include a long-term negative trend in the first half of the last millennium and a long-term positive trend since about AD 1800. The multi-centennial scale Alai Range chronologies, where these trends are retained, are both systematically biased (but in an opposite sense) in their low frequency domains. Nevertheless, they represent the best constraints and estimates of long-term summer temperature variation, and reflect the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age, and a period of warming since about the middle of the nineteenth century.