Climate Dynamics

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 451-462

First online:

Reconstructed streamflow for Citarum River, Java, Indonesia: linkages to tropical climate dynamics

  • Rosanne D’ArrigoAffiliated withTree-Ring Laboratory, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Email author 
  • , Nerilie AbramAffiliated withResearch School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National UniversityBritish Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council
  • , Caroline UmmenhoferAffiliated withUniversity of New South Wales
  • , Jonathan PalmerAffiliated withGondwana Tree-Ring Laboratory
  • , Manfred MudelseeAffiliated withClimate Risk Analysis

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The Citarum river basin of western Java, Indonesia, which supplies water to 10 million residents in Jakarta, has become increasingly vulnerable to anthropogenic change. Citarum’s streamflow record, only ~45 years in length (1963-present), is too short for understanding the full range of hydrometeorological variability in this important region. Here we present a tree-ring based reconstruction of September–November Citarum streamflow (AD 1759–2006), one of the first such records available for monsoon Asia. Close coupling is observed between decreased tree growth and low streamflow levels, which in turn are associated with drought caused by ENSO warm events in the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean positive dipole-type variability. Over the full length of record, reconstructed variance was at its weakest during the interval from ~1905–1960, overlapping with a period of unusually-low variability (1920–1960) in the ENSO-Indian Ocean dipole systems. In subsequent decades, increased variance in both the streamflow anomalies and a coral-based SST reconstruction of the Indian Ocean Dipole Mode signal the potential for intensified drought activity and related consequences for water supply and crop productivity in western Java, where much of the country’s rice is grown.


Streamflow Java Tree rings ENSO Dipole Drought