Climate Dynamics

, Volume 36, Issue 7–8, pp 1453–1462 | Cite as

Long-term hydroclimatic variability in monsoon shadow zone of western Himalaya, India



Tree-ring-width data of Himalayan cedar [Cedrus deodara (Roxb.) G. Don] from 11 homogeneous moisture stressed sites in the monsoon shadow zone of the western Himalaya were used to develop a mean chronology extending back to ad 1353. The chronology developed using Regional Curve Standardization method is the first from the Himalayan region of India showing centennial-scale variations. The calibration of ring-width chronology with instrumental precipitation data available from stations close to the tree ring sampling sites showed strong, direct relationship with March–April–May–June (MAMJ) precipitation. This strong relationship was used to supplement the instrumental precipitation data back to ad 1410. The precipitation reconstruction showed extended period of drought in fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Increasingly pluvial conditions were recorded since eighteenth century, with the highest precipitation in the early part of the nineteenth century. The decreasing trend in reconstructed precipitation in the last decade of the twentieth century, consistent with the instrumental records, is associated with the decreasing trend in frequency of western disturbances. MAMJ precipitation over the monsoon shadow zone in the western Himalaya is directly associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and NINO3-SST index of El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the leading modes of climate variability influencing climate over large parts of the Northern Hemisphere. However, the relationship between ENSO and MAMJ precipitation collapsed completely during 1930–1960. The breakdown in this relationship is associated with the warm phase of Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). A spectral analysis of reconstructed MAMJ precipitation indicates frequencies in the range of the variability associated with modes of NAO, ENSO and AMO.


Tree rings Precipitation Cedrus deodara Western Himalaya India 



The Department of Forest, Government of Himachal Pradesh, India provided all necessary help in the collection of tree-ring samples during field trips. The precipitation and temperature data used in present study were kindly provided by the India Meteorological Department, Pune. The author expresses his sincere gratitude to Dr. E. R. Cook, Director, Tree-Ring Laboratory, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, New York, USA for his valuable comments on the paper. Financial support provided by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, New Delhi vide Grant No SR/S4/ES-181/2005 is gratefully acknowledged. Constructive comments of two anonymous reviewers greatly improved the earlier version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Birbal Sahni Institute of PalaeobotanyLucknowIndia

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