Climate Dynamics

, Volume 36, Issue 7–8, pp 1545–1554 | Cite as

Tree ring inferred summer temperature variations over the last millennium in western Himalaya, India

  • Ram Ratan Yadav
  • Achim Braeuning
  • Jayendra Singh


We report the first millennium-long reconstruction of mean summer (May–June–July–August) temperature extending back to AD 940 derived from tree-ring width data of Himalayan pencil juniper (Juniperus polycarpos C. Koch) from the monsoon-shadow zone in the western Himalaya, India. Centennial-scale variations in the reconstruction reveal periods of protracted warmth encompassing the 11–15th centuries. A decreasing trend in mean summer temperature occurred since the 15th century with the 18–19th centuries being the coldest interval of the last millennium, coinciding with the expansion of glaciers in the western Himalaya. Since the late 19th century summer temperatures increased again. However, current warming may be underestimated due to a weakening in tree growth-temperature relationship noticeable in the latter part of the 20th century. Mean summer temperature over the western Himalaya shows a positive correlation with summer monsoon intensity over north central India. Low-frequency variations in mean summer temperature anomalies over northwestern India are consistent with tree-ring inferred aridity in western North America. These far-distance linkages reported here for the first time underscore the utility of long-term temperature records from the western Himalayan region in understanding global-scale climatic patterns.


Mean summer temperature Tree rings Indian summer monsoon Droughts Western Himalaya Western North America 



RRY records his sincere thanks to the Department of Forest, Government of Himachal Pradesh, India for providing help in the collection of tree-ring samples during field trips in 2004, 2007 and 2008. He also expresses his deep gratitude to Dr. Brendan Buckley, Research Scientist, Tree-Ring Laboratory, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University for his critical reviews on the manuscript. The part of the work was finalized in the University of Erlangen, Germany during November 2008–January 2009 under INSA-DFG exchange Fellowship granted to RRY. The work was supported by DST, New Delhi vide DST No. SR/S4/ES-181/2005 to RRY. JS also thanks the DST, New Delhi for financial support under Young Scientist Research Programme during 25.08.2005–15.02.2007 at Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ram Ratan Yadav
    • 1
  • Achim Braeuning
    • 2
  • Jayendra Singh
    • 3
  1. 1.Birbal Sahni Institute of PalaeobotanyLucknowIndia
  2. 2.Institute of GeographyUniversity of Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany
  3. 3.Ecosystem Dynamics, Institute of Botany and Landscape EcologyUniversity GreifswaldGreifswaldGermany

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