Climate Dynamics

, Volume 6, Issue 3–4, pp 161–167 | Cite as

Drought frequency in central California since 101 B.C. recorded in giant sequoia tree rings

  • Malcolm K Hughes
  • Peter M Brown
Historical Change


Well replicated tree-ring width index chronologies have been developed for giant sequoia at three sites in the Sierra Nevada, California. Extreme low-growth events in these chronologies correspond with regional drought events in the twentieth century in the San Joaquin drainage, in which the giant sequoia sites are located. This relationship is based upon comparison of tree-ring indices with August Palmer Drought Severity Indices for California Climate Division 5. Ring-width indices in the lowest decile from each site were compared. The frequency of low-growth events which occurred at all three sites in the same year is reconstructed from 101 B.C. to A.D. 1988. The inferred frequency of severe drought events changes through time, sometimes suddenly. The period from roughly 1850 to 1950 had one of the lowest frequencies of drought of any one hundred year period in the 2089 year record. The twentieth century so far has had a below-average frequency of extreme droughts.


Tree Ring Drought Event Extreme Drought Palmer Drought Severity Index Drought Frequency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malcolm K Hughes
    • 1
  • Peter M Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Tree-Ring ResearchUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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