, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 169-177

Droughts and broad-scale climate variability reflected by temperature-sensitive tree growth in the Qinling Mountains, central China

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The relationship between temperature and drought was investigated using the temperature-sensitive growth of Larix chinensis Beissn in the Qinling Mountains, central China. Extremely high tree-ring width index values (TRWI) agreed well with dry conditions defined by the dryness-wetness index (DWI) obtained from data in Chinese historical documents and climate-related papers between 1814 and 1956 (before the short of instrumental measurements); the reverse applied to extremely low TRWI values. The main severe drought epochs occurred from the late 1850s to the 1870s, the 1920s to 1930s and in the 2000s, whereas wet spells occurred from 1817–1827 and 1881–1886. The droughts in the 2000s exhibited a similar pattern as the ones from the 1920s to 1930s, with obviously an increasing temperature. The variation of tree growth agreed well with other reconstructed temperature series from nearby and remote regions, suggesting that Larix chinensis could respond to broad-scale climate variability. The longest cold interval, 1817–1827, could be associated with the influence of the Tambora eruption in 1815.